Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Life Well Lived

My meditation this morning took me down a road that I have not traveled in a very long time. Most mornings meditation  clears my mind and prepares me for the day but today I was thrown into reflection. I imagine that a combination of my aging and my youngest child getting ready to start college has brought me to this thinking.

In and of itself reflection upon ones life is a good thing but there are times when remembrances are painful and one weighs their life against others that they admire or they feel lived a good life. My life overall has been a good one and I really have no complaints about its outcome. I have made mistakes, as we all have, and I have had successes but my tally sheet is fairly balanced. I set my life's path and made my adjustments along the way and danced through life with the high and lows taken as part of my path. Karma is Karma after all.

I have always believed that knowledge is gained through experience but as a praticale matter we can not experience evberything. So I have amemded that thought to by saying that knowledge is gained by experience and enhenced by reading because through reading we can reach places that our physical being can not ever reach.

I read just about every thing put in front of me. Especially information about people that have accomplished great things with little resources other than themselves.

Two such men, who I admire greatly, are Gino Bartali, the Italian cyclist, and George Hogg, the British journalist. It is not their profession that has won my admiration but rather what they did beyond those professions that they did not have to do.

Gino Bartali hold the distinction of being the person who won the Tour de France with the longest separation between wins, 10 years. World War Two interrupted his cycling career.

'When the German army took control of Italy in the fall of 1943 and Jews began to experience the full terror of the Holocaust, Bartali was asked by a friend to join a secret initiative to help save them. Few requests could have carried a heavier burden. With the collapse of his career as a top cyclist and the transformation of his beloved country into a nightmarish and dangerous place, he feared for his wife and two-year-old son. It would have been easier – and safer – not to get involved.'(from the book Road To Valor by Aili McConnon)

Gino Bartali sheltered Jews in Italy from the Holocaust at the risk of his own life and I am sure that of his family.

He would tell his son Andrea, “If you’re good at a sport, they attach the medals to your shirts and then they shine in some museum. That which is earned by doing good deeds is attached to the soul and shines elsewhere.” That says a lot about Gino Bartali.

George Hogg was a British journalist trying to get a story about the Second Sino-Japanese War, which was a predecessor to WWII. He sneaked into China from Shanghai for what he thought would be a short fact finding mission for his story.

George Hogg, while recouperating from a wound, found himself among 60 orphaned Chinese boys, and became their reluctant, at least in the beginning, teacher and eventually their savior. He led them on a 1000 kilometer journey, along the ancient Silk Road, to saftey from the advancing Japanese Army. A journey that was characterized by inhospitable terraine, cold, lack of food and a constant fear of being caught.

My Hogg seccumded to tetanus and died after getting the children to safety. Many of the children he saved are alive today in China.

The book 'Ocean Devil: The Life and Legend of George Hogg ' details his life.

These two men did the 'right thing' when they could have done nothing. They could have stayed in the comfort of their lives and let everything pass them by unseen and ignored.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."~~Edmund Burke

Gino Bartali and George Hogg are prime examples of men who held evil at bay at the risk of their own lives. This is what makes them worth knowing about.

These were 'Lives Well Lived'.


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