in the 1992 preface for “man’s search for meaning,” the best selling author and psychiatrist, dr. viktor e. frankl, tells a story.
he grew up in pre-world war ii austria. in the preface, he took to answer the question as to “why he did not try to escape and thereby avoid nazi oppression?” he explained that he did have the opportunity to escape. he described that he had received a visa and that he could pick it up and leave.
there was one thing that stood in the way, however, to his exodus from nazi persecution. it was his old parents. he struggled with leaving his parents. he had concerned thoughts of what would happen to them. he described how he balanced his dreams writing books versus the “real” needs of his parents.
with this mental conflict, he wrote about the notion of receiving a “sign” that would advise him as to what to do. .
he then told the story of that when he was at his home, he found a piece of marble on the table. it was part of a synagogue that had been destroyed by national socialists. his father had taken into the house. the piece was part of the ten commandments. the piece’s letter corresponded to one specific commandment. the letter symbolized the commandment to “honor they mother and father that thy days may be long upon the land.” in that moment, mr. frankl decided to remain in austria with his family. this decision would lead to him spending time in a concentration camp and eventually penning “man’s search for meaning.”
in sum, sometimes it takes the inspiration of a commandment to find meaning in life.
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