Albert Schweitzer and the Long and Short of Life
Albert Schweitzer was an interesting fellow. He is best known for receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952 for philosophy, humanitarian work, and his voice for peace and against nuclear weapons. I find two things incredibly interesting about the man.
1. He was not driven by a single interest.
Schweitzer was a pastor, a missionary, a musician and recording artist, a writer, an advocate, a doctor, a missionary, a theologian, and a philosopher. He advanced modern recording technology. “The Schweitzer Technique” is the innovative way Schweitzer recorded live Bach music. He wrote and published archetypical theology books and performed organ concerts in large public theaters in Europe to fund his medical mission work in what is known today as Gabon. I’m not going to agree with everything he said and did. But the scope of his work is astonishing. He had one wild life - and he lived it fully.
2. He accomplished a lot late in life.
Schweitzer lived to be 90 and did an enormous amount of his life’s work in his later years. He wrote books, composed music, and lived cross-culturally. His most significant and important accomplishments were after his 50th birthday. His last decades were spent collaborating with Albert Einstein for peace and against the testing of nuclear weapons. He died in Gabon in 1965, a couple of years before I was born. He grave is marked with a cross, which he made himself.
Life is short. And life is long. Longer now than what it used to be. Much of the population alive today will make it to the century mark and beyond. There is always still time to make choices and to make a difference. Because difference-making is not about age. Difference-making is about mindset. People like Schweitzer teach us this very thing.