Letter to Albert Camus

Dear Albert Camus

Today  I am mindful of your words.

“In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love.  In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile. In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm.  I realised, through it all, that in the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy; for it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger-something better, pushing right back.”

BBC World Service - The Forum, Albert Camus: Embracing life's absurdity

So, in the midst of all of that is going on I am trying Mr Camus to follow your example and look deep within to find the positive but it’s not always easy. These last few years have challenged me.

Firstly, I retired. I was ready for something new, something exciting, the start of the third phase of my life.   We talked about what it would be “Take your time,” said Tod. “There is no hurry let it all settle until you decide what you want to do.” But we didn’t have time. Tod got sick, and then he died. So there ensued a period of grieving and just when I was starting to look at life again, COVID hit.

But I do wake up most mornings and say thank you. Not sure who I am thanking but I know that by maybe by an accident in birth  I am here and not in some god forsaken refugee camp, that I have a roof over my head and a very nice one, enough food, healthy children, good friends and that I am economically secure.  But how I  do long for a bit more freedom. 

But Albert –  and I hope you don’t mind me calling you by your first name  but Mr seems a bit formal and you were not a formal kind of man –  I watched a BBC programme this morning in bed with my morning coffee. That’s another thing to be thankful for, no pressure to get up.  A whole day ahead of me to do what I want  as long as it is within my compound.  I digress, the programme   — The   Wonders of The Universe — presented by a young fresh-faced Brian Cox going in search of humanity’s very essence to answer some of the questions of what we are.  It was timely and bang on for how I was feeling.  I mean really the Universe started 13.7 billion years ago and Earth around 4.5 billion years so our little  COVID epidemic, which is controlling our lives,  fades into insignificance if we look at the bigger picture. And I am not going to get into the comet  that could wipe out life on Earth with just six months’ notice

Wonders of the Universe - Professor Brian Cox - YouTube

 If  you were  still here Albert, and I am sorry that you were so tragically  killed at such a young age,  I would be asking what you think about all of this. I have been looking into your work and  I guess I already know what you would say.

 “You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.”

So, I will forget the bigger picture, accept that it is what it is,  and try and be a bit more Zen about my life. Look with wonder at our creation but not question, not delve, not become too introspective.  And know that yes, I will be able to escape my four walls, travel, meet far off family and friends and enjoy this third phase of my life. But not right now.  

“Let’s be careful out there”