You know the moment when the sudden dropping of a book onto your lap wakes you and you realize you’re in bed and the last words you “read” were actually a creation of your own mind dropping off to sleep? Monday was such a night and I could hardly wait until DH got out the door yesterday morning. Then I took the time to finish an old [copyright 1967—old is a relative term here], wonderful, favorite: The Chosen by Chaim Potok. The reviews on this book are stellar. Here’s just one: “The Chosen is a compelling, absorbing book. It offers deep, sympathetic insight into the variety and profundity of Jewish tradition and heritage. It’s interesting as social commentary and as, simply, story. It’s a joy to read for its splendid, singing prose style as much as for its message.”
If you haven’t read The Chosen, consider adding it to your 2014 list of things to do. If you have, consider reading it again. Later this week I’m rereading the sequel.
This passage near the end, is why I am posting. When I read it, I had to stop reading so that this thought wouldn’t get lost in the story: [Reuven’s father is talking to him.]
“Human beings do not live forever, Reuven. We live less than the time it takes to blink an eye, if we measure our lives against eternity. So it may be asked what value is there to a human life. There is so much pain in the world. What does it mean to have to suffer so much if our lives are nothing more than the blink of an eye?” He paused again, his eyes misty now, then went on, “I learned a long time ago, Reuven, that a blink of an eye in itself is nothing. But the eye that blinks, that is something. A span of life is nothing. But the man who lives that span, he is something. He can fill that tiny span with meaning, so its quality is immeasurable though its quantity may be insignificant. Do you understand what I am saying? A man must fill his life with meaning, meaning is not automatically given to life. It is hard work to fill one’s life with meaning.”
May we all add meaning in 2014.