This…This is Water

Those who have spent any time with me know know that I draw a great deal from the life and the writing of David Foster Wallace. Without him ever knowing me, our lives became intertwined the day he committed suicide. The particulars of those events are relevant for this little story.

What is important is that I have found great comfort in his words in times when there was not a great comfort anywhere else.

My students have likely heard me reference “This is Water,” the title of DFW’s famous commencement speech at Kenyon College, at least once during their time in my class.This speech is, in just a few minutes, the best description I’ve ever heard of the meaning of life. (This piece meant so much to me that my wife and I made it our theme at our wedding in January.)

In the last few days, somebody released a fictionalized film version of DFW’s talk. I have watched it repeatedly, oftentimes with tears streaming down my face for reasons that, like the particulars from before, aren’t particularly relevant to you.

But I suspect if you watch it, you will draw your own meaning from it.

“The capital T truth is about life before death.”