Arthur Gordon Webster QuotesArthur Gordon Webster physicist, was a founder and president of the American Physical Society.
I walked slowly out on the beach. A few yards below high-water mark I stopped and read the words again: WRITE YOUR WORRIES ON THE SAND. I let the paper blow away, reached down and picked up a fragment of shell. Kneeling there under the vault of the sky, I wrote several words, one above the other. Then I walked away, and I did not look back. I had written my troubles on the sand. The tide was coming in.
People who take the risk make a tremendous discovery: The more things you care about, and the more intensely you care, the more alive you are. This capacity for caring can illuminate any relationship: marriage, family, friendships-even the ties of affection that often join humans and animals. Each of us is born with some of it, but whether we let it expand or diminish is largely up to us. To care, you have to surrender the armor of indifference. You have to be willing to act, to make the first move.
At a turbulent public meeting once I lost my temper and said some harsh and sarcastic things. The proposal I was supporting was promptly defeated. My father who was there, said nothing, but that night, on my pillow I found a marked passage from Aristotle: Anybody can become angry–that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way — that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.
It takes courage to care for others, because people who care run the risk of being hurt. It’s not easy to let your guard down, open your heart, react with sympathy or compassion or indignation or enthusiasm when usually it’s much easier-and sometimes much safer-not to get involved. People who take the risk make a tremendous discovery: The more things you care about, and the more intensely you care, the more alive you are.
I have done much reporting in what might be termed the religious field. I have interviewed dozens of people-maybe hundreds-asking questions about their beliefs. Some impressed me more than others, but it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the gift of faith (and I think it is a gift) is the most valuable one of all. People who have it are stronger-and kinder-and more unselfish-and happier. It’s as simple (and as mysterious) as that.
No one lives on the top of the mountain. It’s fine to go there occasionally -for inspiration, for new perspectives. But you have to come down. Life is lived in the valleys. That’s where the farms and gardens and orchards are, and where the plowing and the work is done. That’s where you apply the visions you may have glimpsed from the peaks.
Go back. Go back in time. Everyone’s life is a chain of memories. In each chain there are shining links, happenings where this element of wonder…was very strong. Why don’t you reach out and relive some of those memories? If you work at it, remembering the wonder can revive your ability to live life as it should be lived.