Friday, August 21, 2015
"I've Lived a Wonderful Life."
Oliver Sacks, the neurologist, professor, and masterful story teller, is facing death. He is doing it in the way we love best about him -- writing a revealing story that draws us close. Sacks is the author of so many best selling books. His brain damaged patients become inspiring characters we can learn from and admire. I'm sure you also remember Sacks' book Awakenings. Robert DeNiro and Robin Williams played in the film.
Now, Oliver Sacks is giving himself the dignity and love he lavished on his patients as he opens up about his own life. Early on, he fled from his Orthodox Jewish upbringing -- even from religion itself. For many years he exiled himself into a sexual wilderness before accepting his homosexuality and love. Sacks says: "Life is a welcome gift." The gift of Oliver Sacks is ours to receive.
Jimmy Carter once again astonishes us with the calm way he moves in the spotlight -- his only purpose to improve the lives of those around him. This time we learn about his brain cancer. Because he is not afraid, maybe we can better face our fears.
People rush to agree that Carter has been a wonderful ex-President, devoting himself to humanity at every turn. I agree of course, but also say that he was a great President in many important ways. No wars, no drones, no prison camps, and those solar panels on the White House roof. I'm happy enough with that.
Shortly before he died, Bill visited with his boss Sydney Pollack. He told Bill he was sad to go and then said "I've lived so many of my dreams. I've lived a wonderful life."