Often the exerience of personal crisis or a failure will constitute a basis for the creation of a personal vision, which in turn becomes a framework for a life of possibility. Alice Kahana, an artist living in Houston, has a painful and vivid memory of her journey to Auschwitz as a fifteen year old girl.
On the way she became separated from her parents, and found herself in charge of her 8 year old brother. When the boxcar arrived she looked down and saw her brother was missing a shoe. “ Why are you so stupid!” she shouted at him, the way older sisters are inclined to do. “ Can’t you keep track of your things?”
This was nothing out of the ordinary except that these were the last words that were passed between them, for they were herded into different cars and never saw each other again.
Nearly 50 years later Alice is still living by a distinction that was conceived in that maelstrom. She vowed from that point not to say anything that would not stand as the last thing she ever said.
Is she 100% successful?
We would have to presume not. But no matter.
Such a distinction is not a standard to live up to, but a framework of possibility to live in to.
What do you think?