Have you ever asked yourself during a moment of clarity, “How did I get here?” or “Where am I going?” I use the word “clarity” because it seems that we spend most of our lives being just busy enough to avoid these sorts of reflective questions.
I do not remember my father cautioning me to expect a philosophical crossroads later in life. In fact, Plato, Aristotle, and the rest of the philosophical hall of fame have never been relevant to me. I suppose they formed the foundation for the existentialists who were quite familiar with reflection. These navel-gazers gave way to the humorists like Mark Twain, who brought us back to a more practical or sensible outlook, with pithy quotes such as, “Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” Wise words indeed. I would have had the opposite effect on the blind who would have become deaf and the deaf who would have become blind if my aspiration to be an opera singer had been realized.
What truly defines you and me? Does being a parent, a spouse or former spouse or both, a child, a profession, a friend, a skill, or a passion define us? When the children are no longer dependent on us, the definition of ourselves as parents might change. The same can be said of everything that we were once functioning as.
Previous achievements seem to fade in their importance and significance. And yet, those were the responsibilities and pursuits that propelled us to this very day. You often hear others opine on or lament about their glory days. Or I am sure you have the friends that talk incessantly about their grandchildren, as if they acknowledge the disappointment in raising their own children and are hoping to find something of value in their grandchildren.
How about those people who are living the dream? What does that even mean? Dare I say that many are living in a dream world, but the number of people actually living out their dreams may be a small percentage. To be frank, one person’s dream may be another person’s nightmare. Yet, in a world that regularly falls prey to comparing just about everything, we often turn up lacking.
So together we have arrived at this most poignant moment. Let’s resolve to believe that what lies ahead in our lives is of real significance. It may be defined as vision, purpose, destiny, passion, or hope. At the core of this existential crisis, we come to realize we are only as “good” as we behave and think and act today, which will seed our tomorrows. Let’s ask God to determine our how’s, where’s, and why’s and commit to living meaningful lives today and into tomorrow, with hope and expectation. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Prov 3:5,6)