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假如给我三天光明(节选) Three Days to See

Helen Keller
All of us have read thrilling1) stories in which the hero had only a limited and specified time to live. Sometimes it was as long as a year; sometimes as short as twenty-four hours. But always we were interested in discovering just how the doomed man chose to spend his last days or his last hours. I speak, of course, of free men who have a choice, not condemned2) criminals whose sphere of activities is strictly delimited3).
Such stories set us thinking, wondering what we should do under similar circumstances. What events, what experiences, what associations should we crowd into those last hours as mortal beings? What happiness should we find in reviewing the past, what regrets?
Sometimes I have thought it would be an excellent rule to live each day as if we should die tomorrow. Such an attitude would emphasize sharply the values of life. We should live each day with gentleness, vigor, and a keenness of appreciation which are often lost when time stretches before us in the constant panorama4) of more days and months and years to come. There are those, of course, who would adopt the Epicurean5) motto of “Eat, drink, and be merry.” But most people would be chastened 6) by the certainty of impending7) death.
In stories the doomed hero is usually saved at the last minute by some stroke of fortune, but almost always his sense of values is changed. He becomes more appreciative of the meaning of life and its permanent spiritual values. It has often been noted that those who live, or have lived, in the shadow of death bring a mellow sweetness to everything they do.
Most of us, however, take life for granted. We know that one day we must die, but usually we picture that day as far in the future. When we are in buoyant health, death is all but unimaginable. We seldom think of it. The days stretch out in an endless vista8). So we go about our petty tasks, hardly aware of our listless9) attitude toward life.
The same lethargy10), I am afraid, characterizes the use of all our faculties and senses. Only the deaf appreciate hearing, only the blind realize the manifold11) blessings that lie in sight. Particularly does this observation apply to those who have lost sight and hearing in adult life. But those who have never suffered impairment of sight or hearing seldom make the fullest use of these blessed faculties. Their eyes and ears take in all sights and sounds hazily, without concentration and with little appreciation. It is the same old story of not being grateful for what we have until we lose it, of not being conscious of health until we are ill.
I have often thought it would be a blessing if each human being were stricken blind and deaf for a few days at some time during his early adult life. Darkness would make him more appreciative of sight; silence would teach him the joys of sound.
1)    thrilling [5WriliN] adj.惊心动魄的
2)    condemned [kEn5demd] adj.被宣告有罪的
3)    delimit [di5limit] vt.定界限
4)    panorama [7pAnE5rB:mE] n.全景
5)    Epicurean [7epikjuE5ri(:)En] adj.伊壁鸠鲁的,享乐             主义的
6)    chasten [5tFeisn] vt.斥责,惩罚
7)    impending [im5pendiN] adj.迫近的
8)    vista [5vistE] n.展望,前景
9)    listless [5listlis] adj.倦怠的,冷漠的,情绪低落的
10)  lethargy [5leWEdVi] n.无生气
11)   manifold [5mAnifEuld] adj.多方面的
有时我想,把每天都当作生命中的最后一天来过,也不失为一个极好的生活法则。这种态度会使人格外重视生命的价值。我们每天都应该以优雅的姿态、充沛的精力、抱着感恩之心来生活。但当时间以无休止的日、月和年在我们面前流逝时,我们却常常没有了这种感觉。当然,也有人奉行 “吃、喝、享受”的享乐主义信条,但绝大多数人还是会受到即将到来的死亡的惩罚。

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