In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds its meaning. ~VIKTOR FRANKL

Viktor Emil Frankl was an Austrian neurologist,  psychiatrist, philosopher, writer, and Holocaust survivor. He was the founder of logotherapy, a school of psychotherapy that describes a search for a life’s meaning as the central human motivational force.  The first of his books I read, “Man’s Search for Meaning” changed the way I look at life.  It made me realize that if I had to go back I won’t change a thing.

An amazing man he was and very humble. The example that is often given to explain the basic tenets of logotherapy is the story of Frankl meeting with an elderly general practitioner who was struggling to overcome depression after the loss of his wife…”that his purpose had been to spare his wife the pain of losing him first.”  WOW!!! He also said that when we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.

In the ’90s a young man fresh out of college started working in our group. He was in his early twenties with triple degrees. Brilliant kid. He was part of the old boys club, with the same alma mater of equal or higher intelligence. These men would go through fire for each other and will protect their younger  brothers.  Despite of my cp partner’s unpopularity, he was an invaluable — almost an indispensable– member of the club. We the underlings had to either adjust or leave. I really liked where I was so I opted to adjust. 

Anyways, he lived in my neighborhood so we carpooled to work every day. I got to hear the stories of his greatness and his struggles at least five days a week. He also talked about his mother alot that made me realize that the genius is still a child in need of his mother’s love.

“How’s the carpool?” Someone asked me one day. I chuckled knowingly.  She looked hard at me and said  “He needs to go to Charm School.” He was not very well-liked and it saddened me, but then he’d say something so condescending and hurtful…  Ngsel meral chorbechall e debsochl. I decided to apply Dr. Frankl’s therapy on myself and find the meaning in the situation. I hate to admit it but the child was amazing. He knew a lot of things.

When you’re young, smart and innovative you can either be  thorn in the side or be a wonderful addition to the team. My cp partner was all that. Maya Angelou once said, “I can be changed by what happens to me, I refuse to be reduced by it.” In a way my cp partner pushed me to look for meaning in this situation.  I need not relocate or run away but be right where I am and grow.  It was no fun, really.

The meaning in my suffering  was endurance with much needed listening skills and to love someone I didnt like. I didn’t have to like him. I needed to love him. It’s difficult to listen to the young man for his lack of charm.  And to love that type of personality is a real challenge. I’ll play along and love and be a good friend.  You know that old adage about friendship – if you want a friend, be one. He became my friend. 

Dr. Frankl defined love this way: Love is centering on the uniqueness of this other person. My young genius friend was unique. The purpose of our relationship was to listen actively, not passively. He told me that if I look straight up into the midnight sky on December 31st I will see Mars right overhead.

My new friend took my searching for life’s meaning to a new level.  Yes all things work together for good to those who wait…  yes things happen for a reason.

Remember me loving you.

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