Thursday, 29 December 2016

Watership Down

One of the most challenging times of my life was the three months from January to March 1973. Through those months alongside my fellow medical students I studied relentlessles for my 2ndMB (the exam that used to be taken after 5 terms of anatomy, physiology, biochemistry and pharmacology). It was a monster of an exam and required rediculous amounts of retained knowledge. Thankfully I scraped through. One of the things that kept me going was reading a portion of Watership Down for half an hour before I went to sleep. It calmed me down and transported me away from my problems to those of the rabbit warren, Bigwig and all.

It's a beautifully told tale and was written by Richard Adams who died this week at the age of 96 years. Subsequently made into a film with gorgeous singing from Art Garfunkel-one of the last vinyls I bought (before my recent conversion back to vinyl!).

Reading the book helped. It calmed me, it distracted me and gave me just a tiny insight into the struggle that others face in life, whether man or beast. And since most of us easily become preoccupied with our own challenges, it was a helpful nudge towards less self-absorption. We'd all be better off with what Tim Keller calls Self-forgetfulness. Something to aim for in 2017?
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