3 October 2009


Our kindness and indifference are like sun and frost. Either we blight those around us or encourage them to grow .... people heal and people destroy. We help or hinder one another, summoning one another to be and grow, or to surrender and retreat, influencing one another as sun and frost influence a green field..... we all constantly issue invitations to each other to live or die, to triumph or surrender ....

When I am with you I grow or diminish according to how you make me feel. And, in my turn, I invite you to live or retreat, by holding out my hand to you or not holding it out, by opening my heart to you or keeping it closed.

As we move around this world and as we act with kindness perhaps, or with indifference or with hostility towards the people we meet, we are setting the Great Spider's web a-tremble. The life that I touch for good or ill will touch another life and another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt.

Some people have a proven flair for transmitting powerful invitations to others to regard life as pointless and hopeless. They are gifted in getting others to "give up," "yield" or "give in" - such people may face adversities for which they can't be blamed or have been blighted by parents who shrank from life. They are stiff and cold; they kill the dream, paralyse the hope, cripple the joy. Gifts shrivel under their critical gaze, achievements dwindle, confidence vanishes and fear takes its place.

When we are with such people we feel inadequate to face life, less in some real way than we thought we were, pushed into stupidity, belligerence or terror. Nor is it only when we are with them that they destroy us. Because they stifle the life impulse in us, we choke it down in the presence of the next person we meet - Defeated we take our failed selves from encounter to encounter.

With the people who invite us to live we grow and are renewed. They give us a wave of energy to ride on, urge us to develop all that we are or can be..... they overcome the apathy which seizes us, save us from scepticism, from our weariness, our disinterest. They make everything real - joy, tragedy, and even death.

We give life only when we have it - when instead of being self conscious about our enthusiasm we use it to open the door of wonder for others. If we would invite a person to live we must accept the "otherness" of that person. We must see what is best in him and allow it to be and grow - for growth is the very insignia of every living creature, the heart of the life process - life is a growing tree, not a statue.

The invitation to live is the invitation to grow, to be one's self, to enjoy. But it is also the invitation to hope.

A person lives (says a psychotherapist) as long as he experiences his life as having meaning and value, and as long as he has something to live for. As soon as meaning, value and hope vanish from a person's life he begins to stop living; he begins to die.

We live when we are true to ourselves, authentic in our feelings, responsive to our convictions; we live when we love, when we are involved in the lives of others, when we are committed and concerned; we live when we build and create, hope, suffer and rejoice.

Treasure your life and you give it to others, give it to others and it will come back to you. For life, like love, cannot thrive inside its own threshold but is renewed as it offers itself.

Life grows as it is spent.