Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Whenever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.
— Elie Wiesel (tallest boy in the front row)
My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:
I miss you greatly today. Your absences is made exponentially greater because of the loss of another, a great man who was one of my favorite authors: Elie Wiesel. http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/07/02/166184644/elie-wiesel-holocaust-survivor-and-nobel-laureate-dies-at-87.
At home, I had multiple copies of his trilogy: Night, Dawn, and Day. Multiple copies were necessary because I kept giving copies away to friend. Even now, I’m not sure if a copy of the set graces my home, or someone else’s shelf. No matter. Great books are to be read and shared, not hoarded and locked away.
Night was Elie Wiesel’s first book. It was “rejected by every major publisher, French and American, despite the tireless efforts of the great Catholic French writer and Nobel laureate Francois Mauriac.” Eventually, it was published, but sold poorly. Today, however, it is widely read and loved by many. You have but open a paper to see the world mourn his passing.
Boys, live so that the world will mourn your passing. Make your lives matter. If you live and die only for yourselves, you would be no better than the beasts of the wild.
Know that regardless of whether you want them to, people will remember you. The question is HOW do you want them to remember you? as the cranky and selfish person who cares for no one but himself, or as a great man who made his patch of the Earth a little brighter for those who visited, or as something else? as a person whose death constitutes a loss to the community, or as a person whose death constitutes a blessing to the community?
How do you want to be remembered? What must you do today so that people will remember you the way you wish to be remembered?
I’m not saying let others dictate the terms of your life. I’m saying no man is an island. We live among other human beings. How we interact with them matters. Our actions could enrich the lives of others and make them want to interact with us, or our actions could drive others away.
I want healthy and happy lives for you. As stated earlier, that means a life rich with friends, loved ones, and meaningful activities.
Read Night, Shosh. (Jaialai, you may wish to try to read it, but it might be too hard at this point in your life.) It’s difficult reading, but helps puts life into perspectives. Life is not just about video games, spicy noodles, and math. Try to gain a broader perspective of life. It will help you understand the world better, and help you navigate the vagaries of the world a little easier.
All my love, always,