“Life is like a blanket too short. You pull it up and your toes rebel, you yank it down and shivers meander about your shoulder; but cheerful folks manage to draw their knees up and pass a very comfortable night.”
Marion Howard (1805-1875)
“The very concept of having it all flies in the face of the basic laws of economics and common sense. As Sharon Poczter, professor of economics at Cornell, explains, “The antiquated rhetoric of ‘having it all’ disregards the basis of every economic relationship: the idea of trade-offs. All of us are dealing with the constrained optimization that is life, attempting to maximize our utility based on parameters like career, kids, relationships, etc., doing our best to allocate the resource of time. Due to the scarcity of this resource, therefore, none of us can ‘have it all’…”
“Having it all is best regarded as a myth…. Each of us makes choices constantly between work and family, exercising and relaxing, making time for others and taking time for ourselves. Being a parent means making adjustments, compromises, and sacrifices every day…”
From ‘Lean In’ by Sheryl Sandberg
What are your choices, compromises and sacrifices?
Image 1: by Eugeny (Ef) Kozhevnikov
Image 2: A balanced family
“War is hell, but sometimes in the midst of that Hell men do things that Heaven itself must be proud of. A hand grenade is hurled into a group of men. One of the men throws himself on top of it, making his body a living shield. In the burst of wild fire he dies, and the others live. Heroism is only a word, often a phony one. This is an action for which there is no good word because we can hardly even imagine it, let alone give it its proper name. Very literally, one man takes death into his bowels, takes fire into his own sweet flesh, so that the other men can take life, some of them men he hardly knows.”
from “The Hungering Dark” by Frederick Buechner
Heroes in real life rarely look like the all-mighty supermen or superwomen from books and movies. They might speak different languages, live in different parts of the world, wear different clothes, belong to different generations. Heroism is also not confined to wars. Japan’s nuclear crisis provided a good example of such non-war-related self-sacrifice with retired engineers volunteering to repair the Fukushima nuclear power plants to prevent younger people from radiation exposure.
What is common between all heroes is their brave action to give their lives to something bigger than them, to sacrifice their lives for others to make this world a better place. That’s why the memory of them never dies in our hearts.
From Hippie Peace Freaks
“Warriors are not what you think of as warriors. The warrior is not someone who fights, because no one has the right to take another life. The warrior, for us, is one who sacrifices himself for the good of others. His task is to take care of the elderly, the defenseless, those who can not provide for themselves, and above all, the children, the future of humanity.”
Excerpt from “The Crucible”
By Arthur Miller
DANFORTH: Come here, woman. (Elizabeth crosses to Danforth, looking toward Proctor.) Look at me only, not at your husband. In my eyes only. (She looks at him.)
ELIZABETH: Good, sir.
DANFORTH: We are given to understand that at one time you dismissed your servant, Abigail Williams.
ELIZABETH: That is true, sir.
DANFORTH: For what cause did you dismiss her? (Elizabeth tries to glance at Proctor.) You will look in my eyes only and not at your husband. The answer is in your memory and you need no help to give it to me. Why did you dismiss Abigail Williams?
ELIZABETH: (Not knowing what to say, sensing a situation, she wets her lips to stall for time.) She… dissatisfied me… (Adding.) and my husband.
DANFORTH: In what way dissatisfied you?
ELIZABETH: She were… (She glances at Proctor for a cue.)
DANFORTH: Woman, look at me! Were she slovenly? Lazy? What disturbance did she cause?
ELIZABETH: Your Honor, I… in that time I were sick. And I… My husband is a good and righteous man. He is never drunk, as some are, nor wastin’ his time at the shovelboard, but always at his work… But in my sickness—you see, sir, I were a long time sick after my last baby, and I thought I saw my husband somewhat turning from me. And this girl… (She turns to Abigail.)
DANFORTH: (Shouting.) Look at me!
ELIZABETH: (Weeping.) Aye, sir. Abigail Williams… I came to think he fancied her. And so one night I lost my wits, I think, and put her out on the high road.
DANFORTH: Your husband… did he indeed turn from you?
ELIZABETH: (A plea.) My husband… is a goodly man, sir… (She starts to glance at Proctor.)
DANFORTH: Look at me! To your own knowledge, has John Proctor ever committed the crime of lechery? (In a crisis of indecision she cannot speak.) Answer my question! Is your husband a lecher!
ELIZABETH: (Faintly.) No, sir.
DANFORTH: Remove her. (Proctor and Abigail turn around into scene.)
PROCTOR: Elizabeth, tell the truth, Elizabeth!
DANFORTH: She has spoken. Remove her. (Hale crosses R. following Elizabeth.)
PROCTOR: (Cries out.) Elizabeth, I have confessed it!
ELIZABETH: Oh, John! (Goes out.)
PROCTOR: She only thought to save my name!
HALE: Excellency, it is a natural lie to tell; I beg you, stop now; before another is condemned!
DANFORTH: She spoke nothing of lechery, and this man lies!
* * *
Solomon was the greatest king that ever reigned in Israel and was also one the wisest man that ever lived.
One day two women came before Solomon. One of them told him that she and the other woman both lived in one house, and each had a very young child. In the night the child belonging to the other woman died, and its mother exchanged it for the living one, putting her own dead child in her neighbor’s bed as she lay sleeping, and taking the living child to herself.
In the morning, the mother of the living child discovered that the dead child was not her child but the woman whose child was dead would not give up the one that she had stolen. The two women stood there before the king, each one contending that the living child was hers, and that the dead child belonged to the other.
Solomon asked for a sword, when it was brought, he told them to divide the living child in two, and give half of him to each of the women. The woman who had falsely claimed the child made no objection to this decision. But the real mother could not bear it. Rather than have her son killed, she was willing to lose him altogether and she cried out not to harm the child and to give the child to the other woman.
The king saw at once which of them the child belonged and he said, “Give her the living child, for she is its mother.”
From Bible Stories
From The Bible Through Artists’ Eyes