Finding Joy in your Life: What activity is a great source of joy and peace for you?

I find that sitting down in a quiet space with a fascinating book is how I nourish my spirit. A book about the beauty of human nature and the triumph over the struggles of life, or a book written by someone inspired by the Muse. One of my favorite authors of fiction is Dostoyevsky, a Russian author that lived in the 19th century. This man was truly a literary craftsman, the way he created characters that were so full of life they would become almost as friends in the memory. His keen insight into the depth of the human spirit was remarkable, in one of my favorite books by him called “The Idiot” he writes a story of a man suffering from epilepsy who was misunderstood by all those around him. He was a gentle soul, very Christ-like, always seeking to help others but getting caught in the dramas of mundane life… In crime and punishment, he tells the story of someone who committed the greatest sin, murder. The story follows this character as he struggles through the despair, confusion and finally redemption from this terrible act. Yet he is the protagonist of the book, and this is Dostoyevsky’s genius. He was a master at portraying the depth of the human experience in such realism that one empathizes with the suffering of someone who most stories would portray as a pure villain. Yet in this book he has many good qualities interwoven with his antisocial tendencies, and he shows us that even in those we condemn there is redeemable qualities. I believe his message is one of hope, no matter how far man falls from grace-there is always the possibility of rising from the ashes as a phoenix. I still think regularly about the depth of these literary characters and how they reveal the complex and often contradictory essence of the human. Through these stories he told of a Russia that had become morally corrupt as the ideas of Christianity were replaced with scientific nihilism. There is a passage where he describes the anguished thoughts of someone being brought to an execution, an experience that Dostoevsky himself had; though by some miracle was pardoned from.

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