In books, movies, plays, television, my favorite scenes are often moments of transcendence — when, in the muddle of existence, characters somehow manage to break through everything to engage with each other, and with higher values.
Just off the top of my head, I can think of moments like this from Gilead, The Wire, Friends, Steel Magnolias, the play Bug which has haunted me for years…such moments are the principal subject of Flannery O’Connor.
I also look for them in real life.
For instance, a few weeks ago, I was talking to a bunch of first-year medical students about happiness — mostly, I was pestering them to get enough sleep. At one point, an older doctor jumped into the conversation. “Remember,” he said to them earnestly, “you’re going to be doctors. That work is really going to bring you a lot of happiness.”
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