Significant Hours of our Life – Albert Schweitzer

I always think that we all live, spiritually, by what others have given us in the significant hours of our life.  These hours do not announce themselves as coming, but arrive unexpectedly.  Nor do they make a great show of themselves; they pass almost unperceived. Often, indeed, their significance comes home to us first as we look back, just as the beauty of a piece of music or landscape often strikes us first in our recollection of it.  Much that has become our own in gentleness, modesty, kindness, willingness to forgive, in veracity, loyalty, resignation under suffering, we owe to people in whom we have seen and experienced these virtues at work, sometimes in a great matter, sometimes in a small. A thought which had become an act sprang into us like a spark, and lit a new flame within us… 

If we had before us those who have thus been a blessing to us, and could tell them how it came about, they would be amazed to learn what passed over from their life into ours.

This was the reading at a Thanksgiving memorial service I went to last week.  It was particuarly well read (‘cos, y’know, that’s what happens when the person being remembered had godchildren who grew up and went into acting…), but I think it would be a great passage without that.  My question is always: how and when do you say thank you to those people. Or do you not?


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