The More Things Change
I was having a meal with some friends the other evening. One of the individuals spoke about a great aunt (great as in generations removed). He said, that he didn’t know much about her, but that at a certain point she left her homeland in Ireland and settled here in Newfoundland. That is all he knew about her, and the conversation shifted after that.
I for one was mortified! How could an entire life be reduced to a single action. I reflected on her and thought, “Wow! I’m sure there were many things about her life that were noteworthy. I’m sure she had many sacrifices, many hardships, and yet her life, 70-80 years, was somehow reduced to a single sentence.” Thankfully I was somehow able to continue with the meal!
It is scary to really to see our lives in perspective. For example, many previous generations were not unlike our own. Many searched for popularity. Others searched for wealth or beauty. Still others desired quiet and peace. Yet, each one is forgotten. Each one can be reduced to a single few acts. Each one, gives rise to a people who more or less commit themselves to the same pattern.
It is with these thoughts that depression sets in, we realize how vain our acts are, and then decide never to read Ig-Nation ever again. Or, perhaps there is a way through.
When I look over my brief little life, there are a few moments that stand out for me. In my life, these moments were religious moments of encounter. When I fell into a space, where the divine seemed to open up just a bit more.
There are also moments of great providence. When I thought there was no moving forward, when things looked bleak, a hidden hand reached out to me, and provided me with what I needed.
Finally, there are relationships. Key moments when, I genuinely had the support and love of others with me. When friends and neighbours reached out and helped me to see beyond the confines of my narrow little world.
It is here perhaps when we ask the question: Why do all these little “blips” stand out? Why, does my mind come here, and dwell on these moments of providence and encounter?
I would argue that ultimately, life is about the Love of God. We have many moments, 99% of which will be forgotten in time, yet the goal of life is perhaps not to be remembered, not to do something “great” but to realize something. “God loves me and sends me these moments as signs of his love.”
Hence, whether our lives will be reduced to a single word or not. Perhaps, the central point is discovering a truth about life. We were created because we were loved, we have the opportunity in this brief existence to discover this love, and finally because of love, our lives will continue on for eternity.
In some ways, this seems to bring a new perspective for me on life. In many ways, even though I will be reduced to a single word or sentence, it makes it all still worth it.