The Beauty of Gratitude

 Posted by on 14 November 2013 at 11:00 am  Benevolence, Education, Ethics, Justice
Nov 142013

On November 7th, Letters of Note published this touching and beautiful letter from Albert Camus to Louis Germain, the teacher who helped him rise so far beyond the miserable circumstances of his birth and childhood. (See the post on Letters of Note for a few details about that.)

19 November 1957

Dear Monsieur Germain,

I let the commotion around me these days subside a bit before speaking to you from the bottom of my heart. I have just been given far too great an honour, one I neither sought nor solicited.

But when I heard the news, my first thought, after my mother, was of you. Without you, without the affectionate hand you extended to the small poor child that I was, without your teaching and example, none of all this would have happened.

I don’t make too much of this sort of honour. But at least it gives me the opportunity to tell you what you have been and still are for me, and to assure you that your efforts, your work, and the generous heart you put into it still live in one of your little schoolboys who, despite the years, has never stopped being your grateful pupil. I embrace you with all my heart.

Albert Camus

Ah, what a perfection of gratitude that is!

  • shemsky

    I couldn’t help but think about comparing the author of that nice letter to the millions of welfare benefit recipients who think that they are entitled to the benefits they receive as the result of the hard work of others.

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