A few weeks ago, there was a rather poignant interview that aired between Stephen Colbert and Anderson Cooper. I didn’t see or read much of the coverage of it, but the thing that kept coming across my feed was the first thirty seconds of the clip below. And, in seeing the views on this video, it looks like a lot of people were touched by the moment:
Here’s the first thirty seconds:
Cooper: You told an interviewer that you have learned to, in your words, ‘love the thing that I most wish had not happened.’ You went on to say, ‘What punishments of God are not gifts?’ Do you really believe that?
Colbert: Yes… it’s a gift to exist and with existence comes suffering. There’s no escaping that.
Lots of folks are keying in on these thirty seconds and, naturally, there’s a lot in there to chew on. Colbert’s sadness is evident and Cooper’s empathy is very apparent as he asks the question, while choking back tears. To my eyes, it’s the 120 seconds that follows.
I don’t have the time to transcribe that bit at the moment, so I’ll just briefly summarize — Colbert talks about how important gratitude is for the things that have happened in your life, whether they are positive or negative. He’s focusing on the negative here because of the question from Cooper. He talks about how he realized the lesson of having gratitude for things that have caused him suffering, rather than learning the lesson. This is important to him and in watching it, you can feel that this is something that he feels deep in his bones. It’s not some intellectual exercise that he’s worked through to come to the conclusion that he must accept the bad with the good — it’s part of him.
With human existence, comes suffering, and Colbert believes that this suffering has allowed him to have deeper relationships with the people in his life who have also suffered. He feels like he can better understand where they’re coming from because he has had this very traumatic experience early on in his life.
The best part is his philosophy on life — wanting to be the most human — not the best human, but the most human. And since suffering is part of the human experience, he welcomes (maybe not welcomes), but he’s grateful for those experiences, too.