Reverence for Life

Today, January 14th, was my dad’s birthday. To be honest with you, I don’t know how old he would have been – I’m terrible remembering numbers! I forget the year he died, ( I think it was 1990) but I do know that I still miss him. From time to time, I have a dream about him, which is always a great pleasure…and when I have time tomorrow I will find & upload a photo of him to this post. Today I’m a little bit rushed, as I am leaving the house in an hour for a full day of kiné, teaching and dancing. I won’t get home until 9, and will be too busy eating dinner to find the photo then!

Another doctor was also born on this date, but a few years earlier than my father.

In 1875, Albert Schweitzer was born, a great humanitarian , theologian, and campaigner for peace.

I remember that when I used to go to Sunday School, we would be regaled with stories about his tireless work in leprosy hospitals. The site “Nobel Prize winners” tells us that The expression “reverence for life” is the key to Albert Schweitzer’s personal philosophy. No person must ever harm or destroy life unless absolutely necessary. This attitude permeated everything he did.

Schweitzer was born in Alsace in the then German Empire. He studied theology and became a priest, but that was not enough. He wanted to alleviate suffering, and accordingly studied medicine. Together with his wife, who was a nurse, he built and ran a hospital at the mission station Lambarene in Gabon, a French colony at the time. This effort became an example to others.

“Reverence for Life” – as another doctor, only a lowly GP but a doctor nonetheless, my father also had reverence for life. In the world where journalists are killed for doing their job, where children are raped and abused by those they should be able to trust, where animals are tortured by people for fun, I fear that so many of us have lost that reverence for life. Even when we pass by a homeless person, without considering that they are a human like we are, or we treat someone else with less than courtesy demands, we have allowed ourselves to lose some of that reverence for life.

What can you do today to add some reverence to your interaction with this world where we live?

2 thoughts on “Reverence for Life

  1. Thank you, Michelle. I think your word “gentleness” is key – some people might read it as “weakness”, but being gentle does not imply weak to me. After all, a gentleman is one who considers the feelings of others!

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