John Gardner on Renewal


My uncle sent me an essay a few months ago by an American named John Gardner entitled “Personal Renewal”. When I read the essay, I was instantly reminded of the advice my favorite professor and mentor had given me after I graduated from college. Her advice: Always reevaluate. To me reevaluation and renewal go hand in hand. Being a preacher’s kid, about every four years my family had a pointed opportunity for reevaluation and renewal. One of the central messages of the bible is an invitation to reevaluation, renewal and redemption. Gardner’s essay speaks to renewal. Enjoy.

“Meaning is not something you stumble across, like the answer to a riddle or the prize in a treasure hunt. Meaning is something you build into your life. You build it out of your own past, out of your affections and loyalties, out of the experience of humankind as it is passed on to you, out of your own talent and understanding, out of the things you believe in, out of the things and people you love, out of the values for which you are willing to sacrifice something. The ingredients are there. You are the only one who can put them together into that unique pattern that will be your life. Let it be a life that has dignity and meaning for you. If it does, then the particular balance of success or failure is of less account.”

From John Gardner’s essay “Personal Renewal”


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