Viktor Emil Frankl, M.D., Ph.D. (26 March 1905 – 2 September 1997) was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor.
His bestselling book Man’s Search for Meaning (originally published in 1946 as Nevertheless, Say “Yes” to Life: A Psychologist Experiences the Concentration Camp) chronicles his experiences as a concentration camp inmate, which led him to discover the importance of finding meaning in all forms of existence, even the most brutal ones, and thus, a reason to continue living.
“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
― Viktor E. Frankl
“What is to give light, must endure burning.”
I’ve been caring for an elderly lady who had a string of bad luck and circumstances have left her unable to walk. She came into the hospital for a procedure that was going to have her in for 4 days. She has been an in-patient for over a month.
She needs a mechanical lift to get out of bed and onto a commode or a chair. She rings her bell and waits patiently for two of us to find a moment because hospital policy requires we operate the lift as a team for patient safety. She always says please and thank you.
She cried one day, devastated she would never walk again. She has had to give up her home and will need to move into an extended care facility for the aged, the incapacitated, and the demented. My stomach lurched at the thought.
“I’ll accept it,” she said, wiping the tears from her cheeks. “What else can I do?”
I couldn’t speak, so I patted her hand.
“It won’t be so bad. At least I’ll have an electric wheelchair and I can get around. Will they look after me just like I was looked after here? Do they have card games? And exercise classes?”
“Well then, lying here for so long has been terribly hard, I get so bored. With all the things I can do once I get to the home, I’ll be so busy I won’t have time to be sad.”
If I could see this sweet woman’s soul, I’d have to shield my eyes because they would burn with the brightness of her light.
Photo appropriately named “Broken” by Twisted Pixels