?The Art of Living By John Boynton Priestley
The art of living is to know when to hold fast and when to let go. For life is a paradox: it enjoins us to cling to its many gifts even w
hile it ordains their eventual relinquish. The rabbis of old put it t
his way: a man comes to this world with his fist clenched, but when
he dies his hand is open.
Surely we should hold fast to our life. For it is wondrous and full o
f a beauty that breaks through every pore of God's own earth. We know
that this is so, but all too often we recognized this in our backward glance when we remember that what was, then suddenly realize that it was no more.
We remember a beauty that faded, a love that wanted. But we remember with far greater pain that we did not see that beauty when it flowered, that we failed to respond with love when it was tendered. A recent experience re-taught me this truth. I was hospitalized following a severe heart attack and had been in attentive care for several
days. It was not a pleasant place. One morning I had to have some additional test. The required machine was located in a building on the opposite end of hospital. I had to be wheeled across the courtyard on
a gurney. As we emerged from our unit the sun light hit me. That is all there was to my experience. Just the light of sun. And yet how beautiful it was--how warming, how sparking, how brilliant. Then I looked to see if anyone else was relished the golden glow of the sun, but
everyone was hurry to and fro, most with their eyes fixed on the ground. Then I remember how often I, too, had been indifferent to the gr
andeur of each day and preoccupied with petty and even mean concern t
o respond from that experience. It is really as commonplace as was the experience itself: life's gift is precious, but we are too heedless
Here then is the first pole of life's paradoxical demand: Never too busy for the wonder and the awe of life. Be reverent before each dawni
ng day. Embrace each hour. Seize each golden minute.
This is not an easy lesson to learn, especially when we are young, and thought that world is ours to demand, that whatever we desire with the full force of our passionate being can, nay, will be ours. Then l
ife moves along to confront us with realities, and slowly but surely this truth dawns upon us.
At every stage of life, we sustain losses, and grow in the process. We begin our independent life only when we emerge from the womb and l
ose its protective shelter. We enter progression of schools, then we leave our fathers and mothers, and our childhood home. We get married
and have children, then have to let them go. We confront the death of our parents and spouses. We face our gradual or not so gradual waning of our strength. And ultimately, as the parable of the open and cl
osed hand suggest, we must confront the inevitability of our own demise, losing ourselves as it was, all that we were or dreamed to be. Demise 失败；死亡