Albert Camus wrote:
“In the depths of winter, I discovered there was in me an invincible summer.”
I’ve read a lot of Camus. Growing up, he was one of my favorite authors. The Plague, The Stranger, The Myth of Sisyphus, The Fall. I could go on. I think that in the process of reading, I underlined in my copies of his books every phrase, sentence or word that seemed to have profound meaning.
And I know that at some point, I came across this quote of his.
But in reading it today, there is a different meaning for me.
I think that some things only come with age, and with living. There are things that you cannot possibly know when you are 14, but as you live and experience life, you come to a knowledge about those things.
But then again, when we are young, we tend to think we know it all.
At least, I did.
Today, that quote holds much meaning for me. With all I have experienced, lived through, and survived. With all I have come to know about the world and the people in it (which is a minute amount when compared with what the Divine knows).
Today it just feels different to me.
The depths of my winter…the depths of my depression, the depths of my wandering lost, feeling lost, losing all sense of purpose for my life, belief in my self, and hope for any kind of future.
Those are some mighty unfathomable depths. And yet, for all those times I have been swallowed by those depths, still, there has been something else.
To be able to reach up from those depths of my winter, and realize that there is an invincible summer, is a mighty huge feat for me. To be able to realize that there is something else, something more, something huger and something much more positive, a total opposite of those depths of my winter, is a Herculean act.
I don’t know how I was able to find that something else. Was it therapy, my stay in the hospital, Buddhism?
Maybe it was all three of those?
Whatever it was, I have now, today, finally reached that point in my life where I have begun to realize that invincible summer. I can feel it. I can see it. And I realize that it has always been there, somewhere deep inside of me.
It has to have been. Otherwise I don’t believe I would be here today.
Because I believe that that invincible summer being somewhere deep inside of me has played a part in my being a survivor.
I think that invincible summer, for me, is made of strength, and courage, and the will to go on. The will to never give up. And, of course, hope. Hope when I believed there was none. Hope when the last thing I felt inside of my self was hope.
I don’t know how much of each of those three things has played in my realizing that that invincible summer is there inside of me. I do know that since I have started studying and practicing Buddhism, there is a lot that I have realized. My eyes have been opened in ways that they never have before.
I am just glad that I have finally realized that that invincible summer is there, and that it is possible. Because most of my life has been lived in a depth of winter that has kept me frozen in a state of suffering and stagnation for way too long.
I don’t want to live in my winter any more.