Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Meaning of Life

Nicole & dad heading to dinner
I believe I have an answer to the enigmatic question plaguing me of late, "What is the meaning of life?"
Before I share my answer, I must share some of the beautiful, brilliant reflections you posted on Facebook:

The goal is to love as many people as possible before you die. No matter what.

Love God, love people.

Life is the greatest gift there is.. because with it comes love, laughter, friends, family, challenges, peaks, valleys, mistakes, forgiveness and everything in between. Life should never be taken for granted and should always be lived to the fullest!!

I think the meaning is the actual search for the meaning.

Live each day with your eyes WIDE OPEN and take in every inch & second, knowing that anything that happens, at any moment, could change your life, so you'd better be present...don't waste time doing anything that doesn't fill you up inside...experience new things, meet new people.

Did you notice the recurring themes? Love, life, and the actual search for meaning were mentioned in almost all of the dozens of responses I read. 

Glory Days-in' it on Vandy's campus
And here is why I thank you for answering this question in the first place.

Last weekend not only did my son, Luke, graduate high school (and give a wonderful Salutatorian speech!), but my siblings and family members from Florida and Chicago flew in to celebrate my father's 70th birthday the following night. A few hours after that, my husband, son, daughter, and I left for Nashville to move my fore-mentioned son into college. 

Your insight on "the meaning of life" sparked in me a major, mental shift--motivating me to try and savor every milestone, conversation, and celebration. I also embraced what I now claim as my own answer:

Enjoy every sandwich.

Okay, I admit it's not original. I've seen it before. But only now do I actually get what it means.

Enjoy every sandwich.

What a simple, magnificent way to remember to stop and savor life with the people we love. To enjoy our kids, our commutes, our jobs, and every conversation.

Yet I must couple my answer with a second component, as I am finding myself struggling with contentedness these days, a "neediness" as I discussed with my little brother via text today.

He put words to my exact feelings (or his wife did, as Nate was driving):

"Nate's definition of "neediness" isn't a bad thing. It's a constant need to explore, in all contexts of the word...physical (travel), emotional (personal and interpersonal), spiritual, etc.. It's a striving. He's always trying to improve, and he's restless without improvement. On the downside, it makes for a general discontentment when things are static. We try to find a balance."

Wow. Can you relate? Or are we the only ones seeking a new meaning of life every day?
Let's keep asking the question.

Grandpa Jim & his "Exceptional Grandchildren"

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