Excerpt from A Letter from Copenhagen by Garrison Keillor, ©1987:
Every time I read a book about how to be smarter, how not to be sad, how to raise children and be happy and grow old gracefully, I think, “Well, I won’t make those mistakes, I won’t have go through that,” but we all have to go through that. Everything they went through, we’ll go through. Life isn’t a vicarious experience. You get it figured out and then one day life happens to you. You prepare yourself for grief and loss, arrange your ballast and then the wave swamps the boat.
Everything they went through: the loneliness, the sadness, the grief, and the tears– it will all come to us, just as it came to them…
I was thinking about Shakespeare a few days ago– not reading him, just thinking about him, and the times he lived in.
A lot has changed in the last 500 years. The language he spoke is all but undecipherable now. His clothing would get you kicked out of the finer establishments today. Politics, food, labor and lifestyle are all different.
But when he writes about the human condition, about love and loss, trust and betrayal, sin and redemption, those things have remained constant.