“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.” —Albert Camus
I stumbled across a beautiful paragraph from Albert Camus, a favorite writer of mine. Even though I once taught a college course on Camus, I was unaware of this passage.
“My dear Marie, in the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love. In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile. In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm. No matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me there’s something stronger, something better, pushing right back.”
The words purportedly came from “The Stranger” by Albert Camus. I re-read “The Stranger” from cover to cover. Only one sentence was from Camus, the winter-summer one, and it came from another Camus document. The other sentences are anonymous embellishments, however crafty and true to Camus.
Many quotations, especially those attributed to Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln, I have found, turn out to be spurious. Anonymous was the actual author, and, to give the thought heft, Twain or Lincoln (or Camus) got the credit.
The Dear Marie message above, both kernel from Camus and husk from Anonymous, speak one of life’s priceless insights. Whatever goes on around us, the response we control. Attitude, as Karl Menninger said, is more important than fact. “We are not permitted to choose the frame of our destiny,” Dag Hammarskjold wrote, “but what we put into it is ours.”
The Bible says, “The spirit within you is far stronger than anything in the world” (I John 4:4).
Or, to quote the Helen Reddy song, “I am strong (strong). I am invincible (invincible).”