Spiritual Health

Interact with nature
Portland Parks & Recreation - Environmental Education
a new program taking shape

"Green Walks"
Saturdays at 10 am

Sue Thomas
Columbia Gorge Trails
U.S. Forest Service
Portland's Forest Park
Parks & Recreation


Acquire faith in reason


This page is derived from a
 "Healthy Talk" by Susan Butterworth, February 2001--Portland, OR
Corporate Wellness Services
is a program at 

Oregon Health Sciences Univ.

Susan Butterworth, dir

Gabriel Garcia Marquez has retired from public life due to health reasons: cancer of the lymph nodes.  It seems that it is getting worse.  He has sent this farewell letter to his friends.  This is possibly one of the last gifts to humanity from this master.  This short text, written by one of the most brilliant Latin Americans in recent times, is truly moving.  While the English version is beautiful, imagine it written in Spanish...
If for an instant God were to forget that I am a rag doll and gifted me with a piece of life, possibly I wouldn't say all that I think, but rather I would think of all that I say.  I would value things, not for their worth but for what they mean.  I would sleep little, dream more, understanding that for each minute we close our eyes we lose sixty seconds of light.   

I would walk when others hold back, I would wake when others sleep.  I would listen when others talk, and how I would enjoy a good chocolate ice cream!  If God were to give me a piece of life, I would dress simply, throw myself face first into the sun, baring not only my body but also my soul.  My God, if I had a heart, I would write my hate on ice, and wait for the sun to show.  Over the stars I would paint with a Van Gogh dream, a Benedetti poem, and a Serrat song would be the serenade I'd offer to the moon.  With my tears I would water roses, to feel the pain of their thorns, and the red kiss of their petals...  

My God, if I had a piece of life...  I wouldn't let a single day pass without telling the people I love that I love them.  I would convince each woman and each man that they are my favorites, and I would live in love with love.  I would show men how very wrong they are to think that they cease to be in love when they grow old, not knowing that they grow old when they cease to be in love!  To a child I shall give wings, but I shall let him learn to fly on his own.  I would teach the old that death does not come with old age, but with forgetting.  So much have I learned from you, oh men...  

I have learned that everyone wants to live on the peak of the mountain, without knowing that real happiness is in how it is scaled.  I have learned that when a newborn child squeezes for the first time with his tiny fist his father's finger, he has him trapped forever.  I have learned that a man has the right to look down on another only when he has to help the other get to his feet.  From you I have learned so many things, but in truth they won't be of much use, for when I keep them within this suitcase, unhappily shall I be dying.  

 Gabriel Garcia Marquez 
translated from the Spanish

Does anyone know how this came to be circulated on the Internet in the spring of 2001?

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