meaning. Really. I have been intrigued lately with the word "meaning". Why is it so coveted? Why does it seem so elusive? How is it possible to transcend the mundane, everyday drudgery simply by being able to attach "meaning" to it?
This word keeps popping up all over the place. "Man's Search for Meaning"; "Does the song you sing have enough meaning..."; the TRUE meaning of Christmas; see what I "mean"? ;-)
In Victor L. Frankl's book, he quotes the words of Nietzsche: "He who has a Why to live for can bear almost any How." The root of his survival while in a Nazi concentration camp was his ability to attach meaning to his life and retain a hope for a happy life after that bleak experience was behind him. And as terrible as that experience was, it reinforced for him WHAT was truly meaningful to him. Life is not primarily a quest for pleasure, or a quest for power or wealth; it is truly a quest for meaning. Remarkably and perhaps as one of God's greatest gifts it is our responsibility to find the unique meaning of our own lives.
"Frankl saw three possible sources for meaning: in work (doing something significant), in love (caring for another person), and in courage during difficult times." (from the Foreword to Man's Search for Meaning)
You know, when I entitled my blog, Ardith's Quest, I think I was subconsciously defining my desire to search for meaning in my life. The last 26 years have been spent primarily focused on my family and that has provided wonderful meaning for my life. As my children have grown and are leaving home, now I can see that my quest is to find other sources of meaning. What will be my reason for getting out of bed in the morning? What will be my impetus for self-improvement?
Some of the greatest questions ever posed illustrate the universal quest for meaning: Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going? Thankfully the Gospel of Jesus Christ in its restored fullness has provided me with those answers. The challenge of enduring to the end is where my quest for meaning will be most "meaningful" and necessary.
I have made it this far, but in reality I am (hopefully) only at the halfway mark of my life on earth. What will provide meaning for the next 46 years? Will the song in my heart have enough meaning to be shared with others? I hope so. I feel like the Lord has blessed me with some gifts that He intends for me to use productively, and ultimately I will be held accountable to Him for their use. Perhaps it is time to find a shovel, remember where I buried my talents, and see if I can uncover, dust off, and use those gifts to add some meaning to my life and to others.
May you and your family enjoy a meaningful Christmas. May you find meaningful activities, and may your traditions bespeak the true meaning of this sacred holiday season.