Three Lessons for Living
I do not know how much you recall of the evening of May 12 , 1976? and your graduation from Louisiana State University at Shreveport. My own recollection is vivid. It was one of the most painful times of my life.
That afternoon I had called the doctor's office to inquire about some tests my wife had taken. She apparently was in excellent health, enjoying a happy, vibrant life. And then there was the doctor's voice saying that the tests indicated a terminal condition.
Nothing in my life had prepared me for that moment. I was in shock as I delivered your commencement(毕业典礼) address.
When I was invited to be a part of this tenth reunion, my immediate reaction was "No!" I didn't want to rekindle(重新唤醒 ) those memories. But then I thought that some of the things I've learned about myself in the ten years since your commencement might assist you when you're confronted with one of the painful traumas(精神创伤) that are an inevitable part of life.
I'd like to share with you just three of the things I've learned.
First, the importance of "caring".
When the commencement exercises were completed that decade ago I turned to Rabbi David Lefkowitz, who had delivered the invocation (祈祷). I began to cry and shared with David what had happened that afternoon. He put a hand on my shoulder and comforted me. I do not know what he said; it was not important. What was important was that he let me know he cared. In the months that followed I learned the importance of being cared for and, in that learning, became a more caring person myself.
Ten years ago I was not a "touchier". Today I can hug, put an arm around a shoulder and hold a hand with ease because I have learned that touching is such an important element in the expression of caring. Ten years ago I could not use the word "love" outside my immediate family. Today I can say "I love you" and mean it.
I learned that you cannot fake caring. Someone can express words of sympathy. Someone else can follow with the same words and identical inflection
(音调变化) Instinctively you know that one expression came from caring and the other came because it was required by the occasion. A third person might say nothing, just touch your arm, and somehow you know that he cared most of all. Second, the importance of saying "thank you".
I had worked hard on that 1976 speech. I had written and rewritten, polished and practiced. But because the circumstances of the delivery were so difficult, a "thank you" would have significantly helped me. The only thing that I received was a one-sentence, typed form letter. I would have felt much better if there had been a P. S. that just said, "Thanks for the talk".
From that experience I resolved to do better myself at saying thank you. My job takes me to company offices where I sometimes find things that need correcting. But most often I find good work that calls for appreciation. I like to express it in the most personal way possible. For me, that is a note hand-written with a fountain pen.
More often than you can imagine, someone comes up to me and express appreciation for a letter written two, three, five years earlier that I've forgotten. "It came when I really needed it. " You never know when a thank you may be needed.
My third point is that "opportunity always exist".
At age 52 I'd been widowed. At 53 I had open-heart surgery. I found myself frequently reflecting that the purpose for which God had placed me on earth had been fulfilled. After all, I reasoned, I had buried my parents and my wife. My children were grown, had families and careers and showed no need for an active parent. I had gone as far as I was going in my business career and civic endeavors.
But since then I have received many civic and humanitarian awards, which I mention only as evidence that I came upon opportunities for service. I found that opportunity still existed to fall in love again—with a lovely lady who has opened so many beautiful views to me. And I have discovered an ability to savor (欣赏) life in a manner that I had not known prior to my adversity of a decade ago. Deep pain can awaken our sensitivity to life.
Last winter, I was in Fayetteville, Ark. , on business, and checked into a hotel for the night. I was sharing the hotel with a high-school-band convention. On a cold evening it seems that march practices must be held in the halls. By 1: 30 a. m. I realized that sleep was impossible, so I checked out and headed home. About four I pulled off the road and got out to stretch.
It was a magnificent night. The moon was full, the lights of a town showed in the valley below, a frost cloud hung on the mountaintops, and gentle waves could be heard on a lake by the roadside.
I have never felt more completely alive! All my senses were tuned in to the beauty of the night. I felt vibrant, in harmony with nature.
I arrived home after eight that morning still on a "high" from the experience and worked almost a full day. I went out that evening until midnight without becoming fatigued. This is not my normal energy level. Believe me.
I feel so grateful to have learned, even late in life, to savor something that I did not know a decade ago. It is a knowledge that came only with an awareness of mortality.
The last message in my commencement address ten years ago was that "faith is essential". I read these lines.
I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year. "Give me a light, that I may tread safely into the unknown," and he replied, "Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way. "
Those words, penned by British author M Louise Haskins and spoken by King George VI of England in his 1939 Christmas message to the British Empire, describe the type of faith we need to cope with adversity. It is the type of faith that had helped me to realize that opportunity always exists.
1. May 12, 1976 was a painful moment for the author when he was told that his wife was terminally ill.
2. The author got married again with a lovely lady.
3. According to the author, saying "I love you" is a way to express "caring".
4. It can be inferred from the passage that saying "Thank you" helped the author to be appreciated by others.
5. According to the passage, it is not easy for people to know if the words of sympathy come from real caring.
6. The author had never lost faith that there are opportunities in his life.
7. The first point the author has learned in his life is that it is important to be a "touchier".
8. Expressing appreciation and gratefulness is important in that people really ______it.
9. If the author had received thanks for the commencement address he made, he______.
10. The awareness of the importance of being cared for enabled the author to be a______.
答案：I. Y 2. NG 3. Y 4. Y 5. N 6. N 7. N
8. need 9. would have felt much better 10. more caring person