[dgplug-users] There Is Always Something To Be Grateful For

Jason Braganza jason at janusworx.com
Sat Sep 8 01:28:59 PDT 2018

Reading Farhaan’s recent post [1] brought to mind a question, some of
you’ve asked me more than a couple of times.

“Despite all you go through, how do you manage to stay upbeat?”

I’ve never had a good answer, but this Daily Stoic mail [2] below
comes really close.
If a 13 year old girl trapped in Nazi Germany could be happy, so can a
40 year geezer like me :)

- Jason

[1]: https://farhaanbukhsh.wordpress.com/2018/09/07/6-bags-and-a-carton/
[2]: https://app.convertkit.com/landing_pages/284508?v=6


One of the most stunning things about Anne Frank’s diary is how
indefatigably happy it is. One might expect that her journal, which
she kept from 1942 to 1944, as her family hid from the Nazis in an
Amsterdam attic, would be sullen and scared. Here she was, trapped at
13 years old with her parents, sister, another family and a stange
older man. She was mature enough to know that any time soldiers could
burst in and send them all to the camps.

Yet somehow, page after page, is filled with profound meditations on
meaning, friendship, happiness and life. Apparently, this was how she
was in the attic on a regular basis as well. One recorded exchange has
her chatting with Peter, the 16-year-old Jewish boy also trapped in
the attic. Anne explains how she’d like to be a help to him in this
difficult time.

Peter: “But you’re always a help to me!”

Anne: “How?”

Peter: “By being cheerful.”

Anne would write in a different entry this heartbreakingly inspiring
encapsulation of her philosophy: “Beauty remains, even in misfortune.
If you just look for it, you’ll discover more and more happiness and
regain your balance. A person who’s happy will make others happy; a
person who has courage and faith will never die in misery.”

The Stoics, like Anne, like every other human no matter how
privileged, were not immune to suffering. Exile. Torture. War.
Shipwreck. Loss. Illness. Humiliation. These things happen. Not only
do they happen, they sometimes happen on the horrific scale of the
Holocaust, which wiped millions of promising souls like Anne from the

The question left to those of us still living, or living through our
own suffering, is simply: How are we going to respond? Are we going to
focus on the beauty that remains? Are we going to be cheerful and
courageous and draw those traits out of the people around us? Or are
we going to despair? Are we going to let it break us?

We don’t get to choose whether we die, but we do get to choose how we
live. We get to control whether we die in misery or not. Anne Frank
proves that. Socrates proves that. Seneca proves that.

We can prove that.

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