The Human Spirit

The Human Spirit

©2012 Edward C. Lunnon

Tuesday 29 May 2012: 5 years 8 months on … Deuce

Not one of us chooses to come into this world.

Biologically speaking, we come into this world because of a choice made by our parents!

Once we enter this world, if we are “lucky”, approximately the first quarter of our life is spent preparing for life, the next two quarters are spent living life and the fourth quarter is spent in “retirement”.  

Once we are in this life, the ride is not easy, and the choices along the way are ones that we make. We can blame no one else for the route that we take. What we make of this life is our responsibility. What we do with the talents that we receive lies in our hands and our hands alone.

Over the last two weeks, I have had the privilege of watching school rugby against Graeme College in Grahamstown and St Andrews College from Grahamstown in Port Elizabeth. Phillip has been playing and Sean has been refereeing and coaching.

The human race possesses the most amazing athletic ability (well, some people do!).

But the human race also possesses the most unbelievable artistic ability. I suppose it is that which sets us apart from other living species.

I had the privilege of listening to the Hospice’s Last Night of the Proms at the Feathermarket Hall last Sunday.

Philharmonic Orchestra, singers, conductors, soloists, Pipe band, dancers, organists, marimbist, violins, violas, cellos, double bass, flutes, oboes, bassoons, trumpets, horns, trombones, tubas, keyboards, percussion instruments – all moulded together into a harmony of the most soothing of sounds. I can transport myself out of my paralyzed body into another world!

The music of so many talented people who have gone before us is on the programme – Strauss, Horner, Williams, Handel, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Rossini, Grieg, Parry, Elgar … the list is endless.

I also had the privilege last Tuesday evening of watching The Port Elizabeth Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s presentation of the musical Evita.

Again, acting, music, lyrics, staging, orchestra, direction, costume design, choreography, dancing, lighting, sound – all moulded together into a professional production of visual and auditory superlatives. Once again, I can transport myself into another world!

The talents that we have received know no bounds.

But all of these talents pale into insignificance when I compare them to the strength of the Human Spirit with which we have been imbued.

Over the years I have had the privilege of meeting many people who have risen above the adversity of life and who have managed to succeed. Every new day, I meet more such people.

I am busy reading the book Man’s Search for Meaning authored (another of the artistic talents that we possess) by Viktor Frankl, survivor of the Nazi concentration camps.

It tells the tale of the extremities of human suffering, but also the tale of the amazing powers of human endurance.

Man can endure so long as it makes sense to him to go on living: “He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how.”

“Men and women can be set free from despair and find new courage to face circumstances which seemed beyond them.”

It’s that which also sets us apart from the other species.

It gives me courage to continue the fight.