Voices of Life

 

Photo © Jock McDonald

 

“The only thing in our power is not to still the voice of life that sounds within us.”

–The Diaries of Boris Pasternak

If you recognize the power of Love to change all things for the better…

If “Beauty,” and “Truth,” and “Goodness” are more than mere words, or sterile, abstract ideas for you…

If the possibility of a fuller understanding of yourself, and a love of wisdom, are goods that can still animate your spirit…

If your pursuit of the best that life has to offer has not been drowned in the din and rush of life’s daily, pressing demands, but remains a conscious and welcomed challenge to and for you…

And if you believe, or only want to find good reason to believe, that the American experiment remains a unique treasure in humankind’s quest to secure to each of us our individual natural rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,

then you will love reading the trilogy, Voices of Life.

The “voice of life that sounds within us” can become muted, and then altogether stilled, as we become more and more enmeshed in the struggles of daily life. As long as it can be heard, however, that voice will remind us that we should, whenever possible, not settle for the second best of which we are capable, as human beings with a capacity for love, and wisdom, and goodness. Learning to keep that voice alive, or revive it when it has been stilled, and listen to it, and hear and understand it more clearly, are among the greatest gifts we can give to ourselves and to those we love.

Each of the books in the Voices of Life series —Voices of Light, Voices of Love, and American Voices — provides a separate perspective from which to hear that voice anew: the perspective of Spirit; the perspective of Love; and the perspective of the best in our American heritage.

I am a married man of 62, a father, and a grandfather; a man who has earned his own living since he was fourteen years old, and who has struggled to keep his sanity and optimism in a world that often seems at least half mad, and filled with reasons for pessimism. One who has known poverty, and some of the extremes of pain that life can offer; but who has been blessed with a sense of the riches of life –a sense of beauty that has never quite been lost, even in the depths of his occasional despair. This blessing has come, I believe, partly through an early acquired love of reading the writings that express the best that has been done and thought by humankind in the past three thousand years of civilization, both East and West.

To have been able to maintain some faith, and hope, and love –even side by side, at times, with a sense of despair — has been a great blessing. Voices of Life is grateful testimony I wish to offer to others; testimony to the power of great thought and high art to enrich each of our lives, and provide a torch, a sword, and a shield against the darkness.

With the hope you are listening, I greet you with gladness.

 

Harrison Sheppard

July 4, 2001

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