In my impressionable years one man who caught the attention of media was Dr. Albert Schweitzer of Lambarene.
The young Albert once got into a fight and knocked down his opponent. The boy told Albert that it would have ended differently had he been as well nourished as he was. It must have touched him deeply that later in the evening when he came to sup with the family he left his soup untouched. What the boy had said still rankled.
He was privileged while the other was underprivileged.
This revelation marked a definite break with his past and so did his sense of values. He became a caring person.
Even where he excelled in his intellectual achievements they were to be used in service of others. At 26 he had a triple Ph.D.
Whenever Dr. Schweitzer needed money during his stint in Africa he went on tour and gave concerts and talks. But what connects the son of a Lutheran pastor in upper Alsace to Congo?
As a child Albert had often wondered at a statue of a Negro, strong in body but head bowed and in chains. It made an impact on him. Of course the fight was the catalyst. It spurred him to refer to his memory, his past experience to take cues. (One cannot discount the role of chance. But what is chance to any one who is mindful of living with time distorted before him or her?) He knew Time was of the essence.
Against the reality of Time chance is a reminder to straighten out his or her attitude to time. Certainty is ‘chance’ set into right perspective.
What made him decide to become a medical Missionary was due to a Paris Missionary society report, which he came across as if by chance. Thereupon he settled for Lambarene, in the heart of Africa. Where mind of man is colored by collective memory and of Time, chance must, so it seems to me, lose some of its mystery.