Lessons from a Russian doctor: A metaphor for life in general

In Boris Pasternak’s classic novel Doctor Zhivago, Yuri Zhivago says to Lara Antipova:

I don’t think I could love you so much if you had nothing to complain of and nothing to regret. I don’t like people who have never fallen or stumbled. Their virtue is lifeless and of little value. Life hasn’t revealed its beauty to them.

I think this is a fitting metaphor for life in general: if you haven’t encountered and overcome challenges, setbacks or failures in your life; if you don’t have old scars that have healed with time, or wounds that are healing right now; if you haven’t faced difficult decisions and simply done your best to navigate those moments with as few bumps as possible, then I think you are missing out on the richness of experience and emotion that life has to offer. And in this experience and emotion is where the true beauty of life lies — or at least where you learn to see that beauty, in comparison to what has come before.

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