Tag Archives: meaning of life

What is Life All About?

Maybe we don’t think about this question and all the questions it generates until we face the end of  our life.    Then the questions come quickly!  What have I accomplished by my life?   Have I been successful?   Has my life made a difference?   For whom?    How do I want to be remembered?    What legacy have I left behind?    When people think of me after I’m gone, if they do, what will they think about? In general, what meaning does my life have?

As one who just went on hospice this week, I think I can speak to this topic with a far deeper insight than I could  have done two weeks ago……

I’ve had a great life!   My office walls contain many awards, commendations,  mementos; three higher education degrees (a Bachelor of Arts and 2 Master’s degrees),   Recently on my 80th birthday reception more than 100 people from all over Kansas showed up to celebrate with me.  They included extended family, friends, colleagues in ministry, etc.–.     I have enjoyed a wonderful loving and caring relationship with my wife Kay the past 4+ years.   She has a deep love for God and a deep love for me that doesn’t stop when the going gets rough, as it is now.  I am so blessed by her love.       In my lifetime  I’ve been able to travel to Russia and have memories and souvenirs from there, as well as traveling to Alaska and other parts of the U.S.       I’ve had reasonably good health up to the last year which enabled me to remain active..    I’ve served many churches  as pastor and earned from them the title I appreciate the most—pastor.    I have awards in both education, including membership in the educational fraternity, Phi Delta Kappa and am listed in Who’s Who in Education. after 30+ years of teaching in high school and college.  In Christian ministry I have the “Honored Minister’s pin: and am a “Minister Emeritus in the region of Kansas—-all highly significant awards.

But what I want to express here is my most important possession, although it is not  really a possession.     I am loved!       I am loved by God;  I am loved by my wife;   I am loved by my children and grandchildren; I am loved by my step-children and step-grandchildren and by many of my  former students and parishioners and by people I have worked with in both the regional church and the  individual parishes I have served.

As I contemplate it, my life has been surrounded by love and all of the accomplishments that I could have made—-are all built around that LOVE.    By the love and support I have received.  Everything I have accomplished has been because someone loved and supported me.   To give every instance as an example would be to write my biography.    However, two of the accomplishments that I am most proud of that  are built around love are my son and daughter.   They came out of  love for my first wife Dee, they were raised knowing that we loved them.    I remember a conversation with them a few years back when I said—“you know we didn’t always do things right when we were raising you—-we made a lot of mistakes.”   Their reply was that the mistakes were not that  important to them now.  What was important they said was that they always knew they were loved and we were there for them when they needed it.  Both of these children are now independent, loving and caring individuals.   They are an accomplishment of love.

The apostle Paul wrote in the 13th chapter of II Corinthians these well-known words.   They apply so well to what I am truing to say:

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.   And if have prophetic powers and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love;  I am nothing.   If I give away all my possessions and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love;  I gain nothing…..

Put love at the center of your life.   Give it and receive it freely.   It is the most important possession that  life can give you.   Love is the source of all the meaningful accomplishments you make in life.  THEY COME FROM LOVE FOR GOD AND LOVE FOR OTHERS.  AND WHEN YOU PUT LOVE AT THE CENTER OF YOUR LIFE YOU PUT GOD THERE   BECAUSE  GOD IS LOVE.

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Living Wisely

I have kept a journal since my “first” retirement from  the public schools in California  in 1996 .   Since then, I begin my day by writing in my journal about events in my life and my thoughts and feelings about them—-and I highly recommend the practice.    Occasionally during the years I’ve kept the journal I have made an intentional effort to back away from everyday life and assess the goals that I have set for myself.   It is a difficult task, but it gives me a hint as to how wisely I have been spending the time given to me.   It helps me determine what legacy I might be leaving to my descendants when I am no longer on this earth.

Most of us question our lives in some similar  way as I do.   We pause in the “busyness” of our lives and ask ourselves:   What am I doing?   Why am I doing it?  Is this what life is all about?  What goals do I have for my life?   What can I  do to make my life  better?   What is the good life anyway?  Am I using the time  given me in life well?    What does it mean to say that we have “lived wisely and well”?

The Apostle Paul had some words about this in  the 5th chapter of Ephesians:

Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil.   (Ephesians 5:15-16)  

This is good advice, but not easy to put in practice.

How do we “make the most of our time“?    Many of us lead hectic lives.   We rush about vainly trying to do everything and in the process we may neglect what is the most important—-because we are too busy to stop and prioritize what is important.

We spend most of our lives worrying about past problems and future concerns to the extent that they dominate our present moments so much that we end up anxious, frustrated, depressed, and hopeless.    We postpone our gratification, our priorities and our happiness—convincing ourselves the “someday” it  will be better than today and we won’t be so busy and will get them done.  .  For example, “someday I’ll take that dream trip”  or “someday I will take the kids to the zoo” or “someday I will visit my Aunt Mary who is lonely” or “someday I will let my wife know just how much I love her.    Unfortunately we have no guarantee that “someday” will ever arrive.   John Lennon once said, “Life is what’s happening while we’re busy making other plans.

While we are busy making other plans, our children are busy growing up and now want to spend time with their peers instead of us;  our health deteriorates and we’re not able to make that dream trip;   Aunt Mary dies a lonely death; and our wife who feels unloved files for a divorce.

So many of us live life as if it were a dress rehearsal for some later date.  It isn’t!    In fact, no one has a guarantee of even being alive tomorrow.   The present is the only time we have and the only time we have any control over.      As the song goes:    Yesterday’s gone, sweet Jesus!   And tomorrow’s still out of sight.   Teach me today, show me the way; one day at a time!

Let us spend the time that is given us right now wisely.  Take time to discern what is important and do it today rather than putting it  off until “someday” which may never come!