If you would hit the mark, you must aim a little above it;
Every arrow that flies feels the attraction of earth.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
What is meaning? How does any definition we choose relate to EveryDayLife?
While researching our burgeoning topic “Who We Are” and the general concept of meanings in our lives, we came across this post from November of 2012. It speaks personally to the question of meaning in a way no theory can. As you read the heart felt words of a “helper”, consider the question we asked last week: Is the world better today because you are in it?
(We will not disclose the author as this text was discovered on the Web and is posted here without explicit permission. But since it was originally made public, we assume fair use applies. If you really want to identify the writer, a Web search should find it for you).
In my career as a critical care physician for children, I have witnessed horrific tragedies and unbelievable saves. I’ve come to learn that:
Life can be prematurely shortened without reason or logic at the risk of losing sanity and sensibility. Consider the mother who loses her previously vibrant child to a senseless drowning accident. In her bereavement, a part of her soul – and a part of her will to live – dies with her child. At the same time, evading death brings us closer to what we value most in life. Consider that same child being successfully revived by the Emergency Medical team: how will that mother answer the meaning of life following this experience? Her grip on that meaning is tighter, her mind clearer, her values treasured.
From this, I’ve learned one basic truth: our lives are intricately and powerfully intertwined with each other – some would say we live for each other.
I believe the meaning of life is within the question itself:
a soul’s search for enlightenment
For me, being at the crux of lives missed and saved – where the bonds of individual lives are broken or strengthened – I’ve come to my own personal enlightenment:
I’ve come to appreciate the bonds within my own life.
My meaningful life is measured by a series of tiny events shared between my wife and I: a carefully prepared meal, a funny gesture, a subtle touch, an unsuspecting look, a shared moment. At the end of the day, it’s yet another mystery that best answers the cryptic meaning of life: it’s the mystery of love that binds our lives to each other. I’ve come to realize that my wife has awakened a part of my soul that I never knew existed. And to my son whose bonds are already robust as only unconditional love can construct: in the words of John Nash: “You are the reason I am. You are all my reasons.”
And I am fulfilled.
If we could each capture a feeling and an accompanying perspective on life like this person, then focus it in the world, toward ourselves and everyone else, insuring that others can experience it too, what a world this would be. We are, at all times, because of each other, paradoxically, more than we are. We merely have to act like it.
Read the text again. Take a look at the exercise article posted last week (sG: Inside-Outside II). Put it all together in a way that makes sense to you. Then, if you want a better world, make it happen!
Dream as if you will live forever;
Live as if you will die today.
Along these lines, we will continue to explore ideas regarding meaning and how we can embed the meanings we share into a world structure that helps us all thrive, where we become walking, talking instruments of meaning … and of healing.
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith…
~ Francis of Assisi