He lived through World War II. His sister was killed in a German bombing. His mother was murdered by the Nazis. Two other sisters died in concentration camps.
Yet his faith in God, his belief that life is not absurd but filled with ineffable meaning, gave him the strength to believe and say " A religious man is a person who holds God and man in one thought at one time, at all times... whose greatest passion is compassion, whose greatest strength is love and defiance of despair."
He drank in the holy writings of Judaism (shared by Christians!) and became an ardent supporter of the American Civil Rights Movement because he believed the teachings of the Jewish prophets were a call for social action in the United States. You can see photos of him standing next to Martin Luther King Jr. during the famous march in Selma.
Do you believe that who you are, your life, - is a miracle, a blessing? Believe that you are here, in this world, for a Divine Purpose? That your every word holds power to kill or give life, to heal or to maim? That every action of yours will cause ripples in lives till the end of time?
Today will never come again. Use every moment purposefully. Be a bearer of God's Light, not a carrier of darkness. Rabbi Heschel would say ""Above all, remember that you must build your life as if it were a work of art."