What we stay alive for

There are two parts to a person’s existence, physical and spiritual. Yes, it is wonderful to sleep in a clean and comfortable bed, but there is more to life than sleeping. To simply go through the motions is not to live. Not to say that all days are good. Most of my days are a struggle – the work I do is not easy on the soul and sometimes you feel like you are stupid and wasting time. But when things do fall into place it can be a magical experience.

To live life is to struggle and grow, to learn and laugh, to ache and love, and to build. Not everyone follows their dreams or is driven by a sense of purpose. And that’s ok. I have often said that purpose is both a privilege and a curse. But one thing is for sure, most people fall in love, have heart ache, and fall in love again. Most people have passion. Most people feel, and that is what it means to be alive. To feel excitement, to experience wonder, to be inspired, to embrace motivation. To not welcome any of this is to be a zombie.

Talking to my friends in Ukraine I am inspired by their passion for life. It has captured the world’s imagination. Yes, things are not easy in Kyiv, where I consider to be home. All over Ukraine there are air raid sirens, and infrastructure challenges, and it is winter now, and being in a bomb shelter every other day is not easy. But life goes on. People are going to cinemas, eating burgers, dancing, shopping, riding bicycles, giving birth, getting married … in cities across the land.

Avatar is all the rave everywhere on the planet and movie lovers are breaking box office records. And Ukraine is no exception. There is a war, and infrastructure challenges due to the evil Russians bombing the electricity grid, and there are cinemas that have been destroyed, and it is winter, and curfew, and yet, people are lining up to see this blockbuster. Ukrainians may be under attack but their spirit is alive and kicking.

This makes me think back to the Dead Poets Society and that unforgettable scene :

We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?

What we stay alive for. I love this thought.