Deep Thought of the Week: And the Meaning of Life is…

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…wait for it…

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…love.

I’m not talking specifically about romantic love, though I imagine that’s nice too.  I’m talking about the kind you feel for everything beautiful in your life–your parents, friends, family, strangers that do kind things for you, pets, teachers, the hole in your jeans you can’t bring yourself to sew up.  I am becoming more and more convinced that if we were created for a sole purpose, then that purpose is to experience love in all its dazzling guises–from the friend who you profoundly connected with at first sight, to those blind “flings” scribbled about in your journal, to the amazing solidity you feel leaning into someone that you know and trust with your life, letting yourself be warm in their presence.  Letting all boundaries and “censored” portions of yourself fall away around these people.  Laughing genuinely, with all of your soul.  I cannot think of a purer, more right emotion.

Love is tense sometimes, drawn out like a highwire punctuated by spats and I’m-never-speaking-to-you-agains and moving out of state and tears and long silences from the other end.  Occasionally it feels like someone is working on sawing the cable.  But never, ever, ever is it cut completely.  You stand on a platform high up in the circus of life, one million different tightropes fanning out in front of you, grounding you to the real world.  If, for some reason, one rope is abandoned, with no one on the other side, you still feel the hollow ache, the agony, the longing, when you toe the line.  That rope will always be there.  But it’s there along with every other, those glorious ones anchoring you to kisses and hugs and late-night talks and quiet smiles into your pillow.

You can find love in the simplest things: a cerulean eggshell under a cedar, a hollow of new life, graffiti on your school mirror proclaiming Lauren wuz here.  How many wars could love have stopped in its tracks?  If you have loved something or someone with all of your heart, you are leading a meaningful life.  Hold onto it.  Walk the tightrope with your head held high and a smile beaming from your face, positively radiating even more life and joy and love.

UPDATE inspired by the kind but noteworthy comments of Rachel: I suppose I am including a lot of positive aspects of daily life as love. I guess when I think of empathy and reaching out to people, being kind, I include that as “love”. When I think of charity or going outside of your comfort zone to connect with people less fortunate than you, I think that is “love”. Love, to me, is the appreciation and expression of the beauty and kindness that everyone in this world holds inside them. Love can be a sweet note taped to your locker door or love can be a soldier going into battle for what s/he believes is right, or a lawyer fighting for the same. Love is the realization that we are all in this together, and we all deserve to feel…love.

I do not mean to shoot down other important emotions here, like empathy, wonder, elation, exhilaration, or even profound sorrow.  But “love”, to me, is realizing all these emotions for the sheer realness of them, and recognizing that everyone else feels them at some point.  Maybe even loving them all, and willing others to feel them as well.

I realize it’s probably a bit audacious to post this–proclaiming that I have found the sought-after “meaning of life”.  And I know other people probably have their own answers to this question.  But think on this for a little while.  Come back to it, comment with your objections.  I want to hear them.

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2 thoughts on “Deep Thought of the Week: And the Meaning of Life is…

  1. I can’t disagree with you here, but I have several things to say. First of all, I feel like the “meaning of life” will always mean different things to different people, but I do think that love is a hugely important part of life, and that we would be nothing, NOTHING without it. But the other thing, is, it’s not just being in love, but being loved as well. See my post on my Bat Mitzvah. I also feel like, while I get your point about ordinary things inspiring love, there is something special about human interaction. I don’t necessarily mean romantic love, but just the feeling of being loved by anyone and having them love you. The other thing that I want to say on “the meaning of life” is that I’ve been thinking about this as well, and the conclusion I’ve come to is slightly different. I’ve been thinking about it more in a “repairing the world” way, I guess, and I feel like, in that sense, the meaning of life would be empathy. Obviously, empathy is imperfect, because we can’t feel someone else’s pain as if it were our own, but the idea of trying to imagine being someone else is an idea that could put an end to most unnecessary suffering, if everyone really tried. This is definitely connected with love, I think, but you can’t love everyone in the world. That’s nigh impossible, in my opinion. What you can do is empathize with them, and feel their pain. Thoughts?

    • I agree with everything you have to say here! I wanted to put a little disclaimer on this post, though…I suppose I am including a lot of things as love. I guess when I think of empathy and reaching out to people, being kind, I include that as “love”. When I think of charity or going outside of your comfort zone to connect with people less fortunate than you, I think that is “love”. Love, to me, is the appreciation and expression of the beauty and kindness that everyone in this world holds inside them. Love can be a sweet note taped to your locker door or love can be a soldier going into battle for s/he believes is right, or a lawyer fighting for the same. Love is the realization that we are all in this together, and we all deserve to feel…love.
      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment and insight! I think everyone will have their own vision of what “the meaning of life is”, but as long as it’s a positive vision… I love it. 🙂

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