What You Have Is What You Give
March 29, 2010 § 3 Comments
Since I’m in the throes of helping with the 10,000 details involved in pulling the “Life After Death” issue together, I’ve decided to experiment this week. I’m posting shorter and more frequent updates instead of the longer once-a-week post I usually write. Here is the first:
As I wrote last week, we will be excerpting John Robbins (Diet for a New America) new book on living a new kind of good life. (As it says on big posters in my friendly neighborhood Chase bank: “Save is the new Spend”…It makes me feel so warm, having Chase look after my best interests). A kind of handbook on living the way people used to live, within their means and close to the earth and to family and friends, The New Good Life (coming from Random House in May) has an authenticity and power that comes not from high fallutin’ prose but from what Robbins’ himself has lived through and continues to live through. Written as Robbins struggles to recover from having his considerable life savings was stolen by Bernie Madoff, the book reminds me that many of us die and get reborn–and more than once–in this very life.
“A single event can awken within us a stranger totally unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born,” wrote Antoine-Marie-Roger de Saint-Exupery. It can feel like this, the shock of great loss–or love. But I believe the “newly born,” post-Madoff, 60-something Robbins is a work in progress and that’s what makes his book so persuasive:
“It’s often been said that there are no luggage racks on hearses,” he writes. “No matter waht world possessions any of us have acqured, we leave it all behind in the end.
What then, do we take with us?
In the end, all you have is what you have given, that’s the conclusion this father, grandfather, environmental and social justice activist has come to. I’m inclined to believe him.