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May the world be kind to you, and may your own thoughts be gentle upon yourself. - Jonathan Lockwood Huie

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Elie Wiesel: The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference

In response to my quote, Do your best, and always accept life as it comes, I received the objection that I couldn't possibly expect Holocaust survivors to accept what happened to them. I don't expect anything, but I do believe that happiness for each of us lies in freeing ourselves from all resentments of the past - whatever that past.

Acceptance and forgiveness are very similar ... perhaps even the same thing, Reread my message on forgiveness in which two women are dealing with forgiveness of childhood sexual abuse.

Understand that your acceptance of everything that happened in the past and your forgiveness for everything that occurred or failed to occur are gifts you give yourself ... to release your anger and regain your happiness. In the words of A Course in Miracles, "Would you rather be right or happy?" Rape survivors, Holocaust survivors, and each of us need to answer that question for ourselves.

The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference.
And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.
- Elie Wiesel

Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner, understood that the meaning of his life lay in the future rather than the past. No atrocity is grounds for abdicating our happiness today and tomorrow. At the same time, don't mistake acceptance of the past with inaction in the present. Today is the day to focus on creating a world free from atrocities in our neighborhoods and around the globe.

As William Shakespeare said, "What's done is done." The path to happiness lies in accepting whatever happened in the past as unchangeable fact, giving up all resentments, and focusing on the present with new eyes.

2 comments:

  1. "Do your best, and always accept life as it comes."

    This speaks of the present. The present is the one time you can do something about the problem, to not accept it, but to change it. I agree that you must accept the past, forgive and forget, deal with it, but the present is something a little bit different.

    ReplyDelete
  2. If a boulder rolls down the hill and hits my car (in the present), I am better served by attending to the injured and the wrecked car than by cursing God and the highway department.

    That is even true about the future, If tomorrow's weather forcast is for rain, I am better off wearing a raincoat than complaining how unfair it is for there to be rain on my day off.

    ReplyDelete

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