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.


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