I just finished reading Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Wow. WOW. The man had an incredible grasp on the Atonement.
At one point in his life, he was sentenced to death for I don't even know what. Probably something unpardonable, like, expressing his opinion or something. Early 19th Century in Russia was rough. Anyway, seconds before the poor guy was about to go the way of all the earth, a messenger rode up with news that the sentence had been changed to four years in prison. Shortly afterwards, Dostoevsky wrote a letter to his brother. Below are some excerpts.
Never before have I felt welling up in me such abundant and healthy reserves of spiritual life as I do now.
When I look back on my past and think how much time I wasted on nothing, how much time has been lost in futilities, errors, laziness, incapacity to live; how little I appreciated it, how many times I sinned against my heart and soul—then my heart bleeds. Life is a gift, life is happiness, every minute can be an eternity of happiness. If youth only knew! Now, in changing my life, I am reborn in a new form. Brother! I swear that I will not lose hope and will keep my soul and heart pure. I will be reborn for the better. That’s all my hope, all my consolation!
I am neither downhearted nor discouraged. Life is life everywhere, life is in ourselves, not in the exterior. I shall have human beings around me [in Siberia], and to be a man among men and to remain one always, not to lose heart and not to give in no matter what misfortune may occur—that is what life is, that is its task.
Nothing like death row to make you appreciate the value of life. The following passage from another letter he wrote deserves at least two careful readings:
I have shaped for myself a Credo where everything is clear and sacred for me. This Credo is very simple, here it is: to believe that nothing is more beautiful, profound, sympathetic, reasonable, manly, and more perfect than Christ; and I tell myself with a jealous love not only that there is nothing but that there cannot be anything. Even more, if someone proved to me that Christ is outside the truth, and that in reality the truth were outside of Christ, then I should prefer to remain with Christ rather than with the truth.
I won't try to add anything to Dostoevsky's words. Life is precious. Love every minute of it.