What is the Meaning of Life?
Occasionally, like all columnists, I have a complete lack of ideas about what to write about during a given week. Writer’s block is the common term used to describe this condition and I expect all people charged with writing regularly scheduled articles have experienced it from time to time.
Monday afternoon, with my deadline looming, my wife called and told me to turn on the television. Along with millions of other Americans, I learned for the first time of the horrible bombing along the route of the Boston Marathon.
Boston is a city I have visited quite a few times. I have been exactly where these cowardly attacks occurred. The Boston Marathon is an extraordinary world-class event that draws people from around the globe. It celebrates the best of so many different aspects of life.
Some people run for their own personal reward. Athletes push their bodies to its limit simply to do their best. Others are just happy to complete the grueling 26 mile race.
Others run for various charities seeking to raise funds for worthy causes. They are cheered on by their family, friends and supporters. It is somewhat of a festival type of atmosphere as individuals stretch themselves to excel, no matter what their motivation.
As of the last news report, there are three people dead and more than one hundred injured. The President has gone on national television to reassure the American people and the news channels are struggling to provide insight and meaning to such a senseless and murderous act.
Just a couple of hours after learning of this tragedy, I attended the monthly meeting of the men of my church. The speaker was unable to attend at the last moment and a couple of men spoke in his place.
One spoke about “What is the Meaning of Life?” I knew instantly that my writer’s block was gone. His excellent talk was more complicated that my brief summary, but essentially it is that perhaps the meaning of life is to live a life with meaning.
As we stare into the dark face of terrorism around the world and now even closer to home, we question what can we do? Where will it end? Like so many of the complicated questions in our world today, there are no easy answers.
You and I, individuals in an increasing complex world, can fight back by simply pledging to live our life with meaning. That isn’t some feel good phrase as much as it is a challenge for each of us to act on those things that mean something to us.
Good triumphs evil. We must believe that. Fight that battle first in your own life. Make a difference in your community. Help someone in need. The needs are great and your talents are needed.
Do not let the meaning of life be defined by terrorists whose lives have been distorted by hate. We can win this war by simply living our own lives with meaning.
Dan Ponder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org