Have you ever found yourself wondering what the meaning of life is?
If so, let me just be the bearer of bad news for a second and let you know that I’m not about to tell you the answer to this ongoing question… Sorry.
Unfortunately, as human beings, we are not provided with the meaning and purpose of our lives. We don’t come with an agenda of our lives that has been planned out for us saying “this is what you will do in your life. This is why you’re here.” As great as that would be, we just don’t have it. We have to provide the meaning for ourselves.
Our meaning in life is what we make it. It is a matter of choice- our choice. Our purposes are what we choose them to be, because our personalities are what we create them to be. Therefore, our personalities largely play into what we create as the meaning of our lives.
Now, unfortunately, I’m not saying that you can be anything you want to be. Most of us cannot be Olympic athletes or world famous singers. And none of us can fly – yet. But every single one of us can form ourselves into a person of honor and integrity. You can create the kind of person you want to be so that when you look into the mirror every morning you do not feel ashamed or disappointed of the person you have created yourself to be.
I saw a cartoon hanging on the door of my choir director’s office one day. It was of a father changing a flat tire in the middle of nowhere while it was raining, with his wife and kids in the car. One of the kids is yelling at him, and the caption is the father replying: “Son, you’ve got to understand. This is reality. We can’t change the channel.”
How many times have you told someone that everything happens for a reason? I can pretty much guarantee that you’ve given that advice more than you’ve followed it. Many people, including myself, want their desires to command reality. As people, we hate the truth: the only way to get what you want out of life is to understand that things are what they are. Things will continue to exist regardless of how you feel about them. Nothing can be other than what it is simply because you want it to be more. You see, reality doesn’t care. It’s not conscious, I mean, it can’t think for itself. The Earth, planets, clouds, mountains, oceans, are all not conscious. We are aware of them, but they are not, and cannot, be aware of us. The weeds that grow in our gardens will exist and, no matter how many times we pull them out, they will not go away completely simply because that’s what weeds do. They just are. Reality just is. Therefore, it has no essential value.
Let that sink in. Reality has no essential value. You don’t walk around and judge trees for being good trees or bad trees – that would be a bit strange. Nothing can be good or bad for a tree or a rock or a cloud or a mountain or a planet or a galaxy. It is the conscious, living human beings that give the world its value, not the other way around.
Kahil Gibran, a poet, once said: “We see beauty and magic in the world. But the truth is that the beauty and magic are inside ourselves.”
Our Earth is over 4 billion years old and it will continue to exist for several billion years more. In all those years, every one of us, has been granted this insanely short instant to exist. But that tiny instant is the one that counts. All of the time before you and after you doesn’t matter. What does matter is the little drop that is yours. Because in all those billions of years that have been and will be, there never has been or will ever be another you. Your life is not a duplicate of any of the people who lived before you. It won’t be duplicated by anyone to come after you. Never. You are absolutely, 100 percent, uniquely you. You have the opportunity to create a person of beauty and magic, of honor and integrity, of love and dignity.
Your character is your destiny. It is no one’s responsibility besides your own to make yourself the person you wish to be and to make of your life what you want of it. So, I invite you to go out and make sure your drop in the ocean is the one you’ve always wanted to see because this moment is the one that counts.