A couple of days ago my friend Tom (aka “The Blogfodder”) sent me a link to Chris Jones’ beautiful, stirring portrait of Roger Ebert. I’ve read it three times—so far.
I was never a big fan of Ebert’s when he was on TV. He was erudite and smart, but he also seemed a hair pushy and self-satisfied.
But Jones’ article—and Ebert’s own words—have cast him in a new light. Together, these two men have provided a compelling testament to the strength of the human spirit and the power of the written word.
… more than five hundred thousand words of inner monologue have poured out of him, five hundred thousands words that probably wouldn’t exist had he kept his other voice. … [His online journal] has become his life’s work. … ‘It is saving me,’ he says through his speakers.”
It may well be saving some of his readers, too.
As Jones concludes in his article, “Roger Ebert is no mystic, but he knows things we don’t know.” Among those things, he may have found the very meaning of life itself:
I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. This is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this, and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.”