“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
The book is a recount of his experiences in the concentration camps, how he lost his wife, his parents and siblings there, how he made it through and what kept him alive when everything seemed lost. As I keep reading it, I keep going through various emotions from sadness and despair to unbelievable optimism and I seem to be living the stories with him, going on his journey, trying to understand what would keep someone going even in the most unbearable circumstances, what would make him take another step when he has been stripped down of everything and everyone he loved, when his body is almost giving up due to overwork and lack or nutrition.
There was one paragraph that spoke to me as I was getting completely immersed in the amazing faith that this man had over the years:
“Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized. Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize these potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true.”
No matter where you are in your life right now, no matter what has taken your down or whether you’ve found a way to build yourself back up, take a moment and remember to keep searching for your meaning and always choose your attitude even when you can’t change the circumstances.