Stories & Reflections
The accompanying guards kept shouting at us and driving us with the butts of their rifles.
Hardly a word was spoken; the icy wind did not encourage talk. Hiding his mouth behind his upturned collar, the man marching next to me whispered suddenly:
“If our wives could see us now! I do hope they are better off in their camps and don’t know what is happening to us.”
That brought thoughts of my own wife to mind.
And as we stumbled on for miles, slipping on icy spots, supporting each other time and again, dragging one another up and onward, nothing was said, but we both knew: each of us was thinking of his wife.
Occasionally I looked at the sky. But my mind clung to my wife’s image, imagining it with an uncanny acuteness.
I heard her answering me, saw her smile, her frank and encouraging look.
Real or not, her look was then more luminous than the sun which was beginning to rise.
A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers.
The truth that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire.
Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love.
I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved.
In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way -an honorable way…
…in such a position a man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment.
by Viktor Frankl