A guiding light

Sambro Lighthouse (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

 

“Lighthouses are endlessly suggestive signifiers of both human isolation and our ultimate connectedness to each other. ”   

Virginia Woolf 

My grandfather was a lighthouse keeper… almost a century ago and on the other side of the ocean… far, far away. I wonder what he thought, all by himself – day after day –  in the middle of an endless sea.

Twelve years ago, my mother and her sister (my aunt) died within two months of each other. My mother was 79, my Aunt, 86. According to their express instructions, they wanted to be cremated and requested that I scatter their ashes in the open sea – so that they would go back home to Europe. It was an honour and a privilege to fulfill their wishes. One of the most peaceful and serene moments in my life was when I leaned across the fishing boat, said a prayer and – one-by-one – scattered each beloved woman’s ashes. I said my goodbyes and wished them a safe journey. Despite the moody sky and the very (very) rocky waves, time stood still.  I knew, in my heart, that the steady gaze of the lighthouse would guide them home.

“I can think of no other edifice constructed by man as altruistic as a lighthouse. They were built only to serve.”    

George Bernard Shaw

—– Photo Cerdit: By Dennis Jarvis from Halifax, Canada [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

The value of altruism

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“I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community. And as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live.  Life is no brief candle to me; it is a sort of splendid torch, which I have got hold of for a short moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to the future generations.”

George Bernard Shaw

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Image via faithkitchen.org.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day and all things Irish, I wanted to share some sage words from Irish Playwright/critic/political activist, George Bernard Shaw (b. 1856 in Dublin, Ireland; d. 1950 in Ayot St. Lawrence, England).

Incidentally, George Bernard Shaw was a co-founder of the London School of Economics and a charter member of the Fabian Society.  Founded in 1884, the Fabian Society is a middle-class organization in England, whose mission is to promote socialism through peaceful, non-revolutionary means.

In 1925, Mr. Shaw was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.  Although he accepted the award, he rejected the monetary prize and requested that it instead be allocated towards the translation of the works (from Swedish to English) of fellow playwright August Strindberg.

If you want to have an online read of some of George Bernard Shaw’s works (novels, short stories or plays), visit:  Readbooksonline.net.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!