Recently a young person who was just starting out in the working world said to me—after thinking about being at their job for many years to come—there is no meaning in life. This young person did not have a faith life, so I couldn’t explain it in religious terms. At the time, I didn’t know how to respond. But now I do.
This morning I heard a song that made me think. Now, I am NOT a country music fan. I like some of the more crossover songs, but twang makes me nauseous—no offense to you country people. (I’m sure some of my hard rock would give you a headache.) Still, I was listening to George Strait’s “The Breath You Take.” If you haven’t ever heard this song, I’ll include a link below, but it is about a father being at a son’s baseball game and the son saying, “I thought you had a plane to catch,” and the dad saying, “I did,” but it was important for me to be here, with you (I’m paraphrasing). The next verse talks about the dad being at his son’s first child’s birth and the son saying, “Dad, you didn’t have to come,” and the dad saying, this is where I am supposed to be. The chorus talks about how life is not about the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away. (On a side note, no one knows where this quote originally came from.)
This got me to thinking. Thinking that I should have come up with this answer when the young person questioned there being a meaning to life. It’s there in our literature, our art, our music, our prayers, perhaps even in our heartbeats. Life is about LOVE.
It’s about loving other people, that’s where we get our meaning. For parents, it is often about the love we have for our children. We do our menial tasks at our jobs to support our families. To make a better life for them.
But that’s not the only way we love. Priests, teachers, nurses, missionaries, social workers…all these people find meaning in loving the people they watch over. For single people, working may be a way to support our love of travel. Whatever you love, or have passion for, that is what gives your life meaning. It may be music. That feeling you get when you listen to a really good song, (whether that be country or rock). ;) For writers, and artists, we find meaning in our desire to create. We feed off it. It is when we feel truly alive. Love, passion, in all its forms, that’s what gives life meaning.
As Strait pointed out, life’s not about the everyday things, like breathing in and out. It’s about those moments that take your breath away. You derive the meaning for everyday tasks—like washing the dishes—by realizing you are doing it for the ones you love. They take your breath away when they say their first words. When they whisper “I love you.” When they graduate from high school and move away to college (sorry, had to throw that in there because that is what my babies are doing!). Or maybe, for you, it’s reaching the top of the mountain and seeing the beautiful scenery below. Or maybe it’s playing electric guitar to an arena full of screaming fans. Maybe it’s just laughing into the wee hours with your best friend, who is spending the night. Those moments that clutch at your heart, bring tears, and make it hard to breath. Those are the moments you live and work for, the moments that give your life meaning.
So, glad I could figure that out for ya! ;)
What is it for you? What gives your life meaning?