Monday, May 21, 2012

meaning of life and stuff

When we are busy, we don't think about the big picture so much but it is worth asking ourselves every now and then. Author Paulo Coelho gives his take on it here and I at least partially agree with him:

 I remember getting up before dawn and walking to the bus while the sun was coming up to go to hospital for a minor operation (sinus op in case you really wanted to know!) and I remember thinking that people have actually died on the operating table- not the chances were that high, but it does happen know...heart attacks...allergic reations to drugs and all those spiffy things. Suddenly a thought came to me "what has - my - whole life meant?" and I've got to be honest with you - I could only think of a twisted mess of experiences great and low that didn't really 'mean' anything in particular. I remember thinking, I hope it isn't finished yet because there is still a lot to I wanted to do and be around for.

My next thought was of those I love and who tolerate and love me. I also had a background sense that God was there and would be there and that he cared; whatever he is up to in the big scheme of things.

Part of being a Christian for me is accepting the - mystery of life - and not being overly concerned about it - because if you believe that God loves you (as is demonstrated through Christ), then the whole of life doesn't have to make sense  - it's about a relationship. Healthy relationships are not neat and orderly but they often have meaning. Again,as a Christian and follower of Jesus Christ - it is primarily about our relationship with our Maker and with those around us in the context of the created world we live in.

I think God only knows ultimate meaning for our lives, there is a lot in our lives that doesn't make sense but we are part of a bigger plan. On a personal level...I would dare say that to live in a loving relationship with God and with other people (as much as you are able to) sums the meaning of life as we walk on this dusty but beautiful world. If you think this is wishy washy clap-trap - think again. People on their death bed don't say "I wish I'd spent more time at work", "I wish I was dying with more money in my bank"..instead...they often talk about people they are going to leave behind, whether they felt they achieved their life goals, or if in achieving there goals they felt they had wasted/made something of their life. The 'God' question is often big on many people's hearts too. So, let's start on important things before the deathbed.

On the next level - and it is connected to the above - I agree with Paulo Coelho that we need to search out our 'calling' and passion, seeing the big picture of what we are doing in the world - none of us is an island - and living a life of care for those around us. All of these things we have to keep coming back to - it is not a 'once off' and then everything is alright. That is why repentance is important too.

Jesus said: "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10

To sum up; as we live in the light of God's love, use the gifts that God has given us to be helpful and useful to those around us, then we are on our way to purpose and meaning. It may not necessarily be the path that you are on- or it might be outside of your paid work - but it's part of  answering the 'meaning' question.

What do you think?

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