Saturday, May 26, 2007

The meaning of life in one word - Part II

Read Part I


1. a connection, association, or involvement.
2. connection between persons by blood or marriage.
3. an emotional or other connection between people: the relationship between teachers and students.
4. a sexual involvement; affair.*

—Synonyms 1. dependence, alliance, kinship. 2. affinity, consanguinity.

( Unabridged (v 1.1)Based on the Random
House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.)

Think about all your relationships. There are so many, friends, boyfriend/girlfriend, schoolmates, teacher/student, pastor/congregant, coworkers, internet buddies, even store clerks and service providers. Each of our relationships is a connection with a combination of depth, length and importance. And each one is a piece of the meaning of our lives.

As you go through your day, you probably don't think about each relationship and what the interaction with that person means to you (or them). Was the encounter positive or negative? Was it give and take, or was it one-sided (did you only give or only take)? Were you glad to have seen or talked to that person? And what about the relationships with people you didn't interact with today? Even the relationships you neglect or avoid are meaningful.

In the book and movie The Five People You Meet in Heaven, a guy named Eddie dies thinking that his life didn't mean much because he never got to live the life he dreamed of. He wanted to be an engineer, but instead spent all of his life (with the exception of serving in the army during a war) as the maintenance man at an amusement park. The five people he meets are there to teach him just how meaningful his life was.

I don't know about you, but I sure don't want to be dead or dying before I realize what each relationship in my life means! I want to experience it every moment of the day, in every encounter. I don't want to go through life just skimming the surface...I want to experience life deeply. I want to go to bed at night knowing that even though I sleep alone, I am never really alone, because I am connected.

And the most important relationship in my life? Well, that one I'll tell you about next time.


*Notice how the word "connection" is missing from this definition? An interesting subject for another day.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Did you ever think I would say THIS?

I know I owe you another post on the meaning of life, and I'm working on it. But right now I have to shower and get to bed because I am exhausted from...

...wait for it... hip hop dance class.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The meaning of life in one word

A couple of months ago I was doing my normal drive to Michigan for a visit. This was going to be a week with the kids only, as their mom and dad were on a romantic trip for their 25th anniversary.

I was within a mile of my destination when the podcast I had been listening to started to really touch my heart. I felt that what I was hearing was something extremely important because that heart started to race. I ended up pulling over a couple of blocks from the house so I could really listen to what the speaker was saying. It's a good thing I pulled over, because I burst into tears.

The speaker - Ravi Zacharais - is a preacher who travels all over the world. He was preaching on "The Pursuit of Meaning - Regaining the Wonder" (you can get the podcast here). At one point Ravi talked about the tragedy of traveling so much that whenever he came home, his little girl Naomi, still in her walker, would not recognize him. After a particularly long trip...

...I arrived home and little Nimmi was in her walker. As I said at that time her cheeks were so bulging that it made her eyes look like an afterthought - cute as a button. I had been actually traveling for so long I was not sure that she would remember me. And when I came there and walked into the kitchen where she was with Grandma sitting at the kitchen table she was in her walker, I put the two suitcases down and she lifted up her chubby countenance and looked at me and I looked back. For about one minute we had a staring contest. And finally she made a charge in my direction and nearly flipped over that walker. I put my arms out as her two arms shot out like pistons...I picked her up and wrapped my arms around her as she nuzzled with her face resting on my shoulder. And as I looked with that tiny little body wrapped in my own arms I looked over to see Grandma, instantly the tears started to run down the face.

Ladies and gentlemen, before God I beg you to believe me. Of all the thrills of lucrative benefits that the business of the preaching world could have brought to me; of all the wonder that comes from preaching at a conference of such great names; of all the joy that comes from meeting other people at conferences and what have you, of reading some great books and studying philosophy as much as it can dazzle your mind...all of them paled for so long into insignificance as I realized in that one minute I learned more about the meaning of life than all the books in philosophy I had ever read.

Meaning comes from relationship.


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The meaning of life

Well, that's quite a subject to start when it's already past my bedtime. It's an age-old question, asked at least once by probably 99% of all people who ever lived.

What is the meaning of life?

Can you give an answer in one word? I can.

Think about it.