My girl George Eliot

Courtesy of my love Mel.

“One of my favorite writers, George Eliot, observed that ‘the subtlest tests of education are those of empathy.’  She was telling us that our connectedness with others makes us better people than anything else we learn in school — and suggesting that we should value ourselves as friends, loving partners, parents, and caring people first, and as capable CEOs, architects, teachers, software engineers second.”

“If you make your time in college not only to prepare to make a living, but also to make a life, you will become…in the words of George Eliot, ‘a person who makes others glad you were born.’  If there’s a more cherishable personal compliment, I haven’t heard it.”

–Janis McDowell, Taipei American School Graduation Speech, 5/30/04

I wish Ms. McDowell spoke at my high school graduation too.  But reading the full speech during my lunch hour on a bench at Madison Square Park, the sun warm on my face, was a revelation.  Of course.  If this were my last day, I would have lived the better for it.  I am satisfied.  That mad man Walt Whitman said it best.

O Me, O Life

Walt Whitman

O ME! O life!… of the questions of these recurring;
Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish;
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d;
Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me; 5
Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined;
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
Answer.
That you are here—that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.
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