For years, I’ve been falling back on quotes by the book’s author, Viktor Frankl. They’ve at various times inspired me, kept me going, given me direction. But I’d never actually read anything of length by him.
Man’s Search for Meaning consists partly of Frankl’s memoir from his three years in Nazi death camps during World War II. It’s during one early morning march to a work site, across frozen land, undernourished and wearing only the thin clothing of a prisoner, that he had this revelation:
A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth–that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist of enduring his sufferings in the right way–an honorable way–in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words, “The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory.”
While I’ve never read this passage before, I instantly recognize the feeling, meaning, and, ultimately, the most definite Truth of it.
This is one of the things that keeps me going. Has for years.
Maybe you recognize it, too.
If you don’t… maybe you should read it a few more times and then look at your own life.
Do you know that kind of Love? Is it what you’re looking for?
More importantly, is it what you give?