“Isn’t that the point of it all?” She asked, with her crystal blue eyes sparkling in the sunlight.
“What? What’s the point?” I pondered, enjoying the age old question of the meaning of life, why we are here and what we are supposed to do with this thing called life.
“to love and be loved” she responded.
“I guess so. I want to do something with my life, and I guess that something is to love well, to make the people I love feel loved.” and then we both retreated into our thoughts as people tend to do in these deep philosophical meanderings.
My thoughts turned to what does it mean to love and is love the point?
I was thinking about it because I think to simply love and be loved isn’t quite it.
It isn’t quite the meaning or the point of life.
There was a time in my life when I thought maybe the point was just to somehow survive it, to keep moving even when it felt impossible. And that came from trying to love unsuccessfully. To love my former husband, to love a partner, to love my children. And to fail.
I think giving everything you have to love and still coming up short is the most painful thing life has to offer.
Failing at love sucks. It sucks. In all it’s forms.
Is that the point?
To love and fail. And then get back up and try to love some more?
Well that’s depressing.
My life has taught me not to depend on anyone. I am sort of proud of that. This annoys people, because people like to be needed. There have been a few times i have depended on someone. And usually I have regretted it. The universe once dropped a friend into my life when I was as weak as I have ever been. She literally came out of no where. She saw through my tough exterior, saw that I was struggling, and she gave. She gave relentlessly. And I took. in spite of myself. Because I was truly desperate. I admit it, I was desperate. It’s hard for me to think of that time because I was genuinely so low, so horribly low that my guard was down. For me, my guard being down means allowing myself to need someone. She was the type of person who gave without being asked. She showed up at my house with a sandwich, because I had lost 5 pounds in a week. She showed up at my house to drive me to a place i dreaded going, just so I wouldn’t go alone. She didn’t ask me if I wanted her help, because I would have said no. I hate being dependent. I hate needing. She just gave. Until a little time had passed. And I got my head back on straight.
For her, I am eternally grateful. Her willingness to give saved me.
I think that’s the point of life:
To give and expect nothing in return.
And by giving, we receive. The more we give, the happier we are.
I think that’s it, the point. I really do.
I do non-profit for a living. I spend my days asking people to listen to the stories of the children my organization works with and to give us money, services, support, and goods so that we can serve more children and create programs to heal their brokenness. We get government support because we care for children who are in the “system” but it’s not enough, it’s not even sort of enough. So we ask the community to help us.
We ask them to give and expect nothing in return.
I am pleasantly surprised by how generous people are at the Holidays. It’s like some spark gets lit inside the human spirit at the holidays and people want more of that feeling, the giving feeling. We depend of that holiday spirit of giving because it sustains us for months afterwards.
But I also find myself asking he question, why now? Why give now?
We have to turn people away at Christmas because our kids can only have so many parties. It’s too much for them, these are seriously traumatized children and a party everyday, no matter how wonderful, is just more than they can handle.
And I wonder how I can convince people to come back and have that party in late January, or mid-March? I have actually said that to a group that wanted to do a party for the kids and I had to say no. Their response was that they really wanted to do something at Christmas.
I understand. I do.
But I genuinely believe that the point of life is to give and expect nothing in return.
I encourage humans to do that, give, all through the year, everyday, not just at Christmas.
It’s funny, the way the universe works…how it drops people into our lives at the right moment who are willing to give when we need it the most but are too full of pride to ask for help.
Or how you have a conversation about the meaning of life and then hours later, you turn the page in your book and this poem waits for you:
The Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
I sit now, with my computer in my lap, on my porch, with my coffee, and my dogs. My children are silently sleeping inside. It’s a beautiful morning, way too warm for the last day of November. And I feel so grateful and full and content.
Today, I want to give and expect nothing in return. That’s what I want to do with this one wild and precious day.
That’s the point.
For me anyway.