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Albert Schweitzer

"One other thing stirs me when I look back at my youthful days...  The fact that so many people gave me something or were something to me without knowing it. Such people, with whom I never perhaps exchanged a word, yes, and others about whom I merely heard things by report, had a decisive influence on me; they entered into my life and became powers within me.  Much that I should otherwise not have felt so clearly or done so effectively was felt or done as it was, because I stand, as it were, under the sway of these people. Hence I always think that we all live, spiritually, by what others have given us in the significant hours of our life.  These significant hours do not announce themselves as coming, but arrive unexpected. Nor do they make a great show of themselves; they pass almost unperceived.  Often, indeed, their significance comes home to us first as we look back, just as the beauty of a piece of music or of a landscape often strikes us first in our recollection of it. Much that has become our own in gentleness, modesty, kindness, willingness to forgive, in veracity, loyalty, resignation under suffering, we owe to people in whom we have seen or experienced these virtues at work, sometimes in a great matter, sometimes in a small.  A thought which had become act sprang into us like a spark, and lighted a new flame within us.....

If we had before us those who have thus been a blessing to us, and could tell them how it came about, they would be amazed to learn what passed over from their life into ours."

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Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) German theologian, musician and medical missionary was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952. He writings include: "The Quest for the Historical Jesus" and "Reverence for Life". He spent much of his life at the leprosy hospital in Lambarene, Gabon which he founded.

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