Something I wrote a year ago....
Meaning of Life...
What does life promise? Seeing all the things that we have in the world, we often question the “goodness” of life. We ask questions such as “what is the point?” or “what good will come out of this?”, and time and time again, we are left unanswered, only to be posed with even more similar questions. At least that’s one thing that life definitely promises, a constant and perpetual cycle of endless uncertainties and that is the truth; at least in our eyes, is the only thing that we can certain about.
I on my part keep seeing my own peers from time to time chasing after what Solomon calls “the things of this world”, and for some of them, it even seem to them that these things are the only things that are worth running after for. Yes, we know what the things of the world are, and even sometimes, the secular world tells us to not run after these things as they often only promise insatiable fulfillment, which in most times leaves you in even a worse state than before. But yet, we keep running, we keep chasing, we keep telling ourselves that it would be different this time, only to be left hanging again after we’ve reached there.
The “good” part of the world tells us that we need stop and smell the roses sometimes. It reminds us about family values and about friendship and the other “good” things of life. Well that remains true, but it’s only half true, cause often we’ve heard, if not experience the dark side when we put all these things first. We’ve heard stories of how a son, because of the father’s own expectations for his life, gave up his own dreams and desires so that he can fulfill his father’s dream for him. Or on a darker note, we’ve come to know how a father betrays his children by raping or abusing them physically and mentally. We’ve probably also experienced the sadness when our friends, if not best friends betray our trust, by revealing some things that we thought was supposed to be only shared between 2 people, and to some, not meeting the expectations of what we’ve presupposed “best friends” to be. Thus, we’ve come back to square one, only to be left without any answers or any hope of what this life is supposed to be.
Some parties keep telling us to not take life for granted, that having food on the table means that we are enjoying what maybe the 2/3 of the world would consider a privilege. That having a roof over our heads means that we are better off than the 3 million people who are suffering in tents in Sudan or Palestine. So, are we supposed to keep reminding ourselves that just because there are some poorer people in the world that we are not allowed to complain about our present condition? What nonsense, because just as there are poorer people, there are also richer neighbors, in-laws or other family members who we know with all our hearts that we complain way less than them. And while they are talking about the color of their yacht or the Roman pillars they would like to decorate their houses with, we are only asking for a steady pay, an understanding employer who would appreciate his or her employee or maybe just a chance to experience the “good” things in life.
Where then do we stop? Or maybe the more accurate question would be where then do we start? Why is it that we keep living a life that causes us to long for only things that we don’t have? Why is it that we would never consider our present condition good enough, or better yet, perfect? So then comes the question that philosophers have asked for thousands of years, “What is the meaning of life?”
When I look back in history, I see great people who have changed the course of mankind, some for the better, and some, unfortunately, for the worse. People like Louis Pasteur, who invented the Penicillin has managed to allow thousands, if not millions people to avoid the need to suffer the ill effects of flu or other mild sicknesses. When I read about the founding fathers of America, I’m encouraged by their nobleness, that they were willing to remain true to what they believe, a nation that would continue to preach freedom, even when they had an opportunity to construct a government that could benefit them and make themselves powerful. But I also read of people like Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini, that in their rise to power, turn what could be good into great evil, causing the unnecessary death of millions and the destruction of their own governments and people. But the question that keeps ringing in my head asks, “what is the point?” What mattered of Pasteur’s contribution or George Washington’s nobleness if the world ended in say one year from now? If at the end of life’s journey is only nothingness, what is the point then of doing anything, whether “good” or “evil’? Would we consider Mother Theresa’s sacrifice, of giving her entire life to bring hope to the children in Calcutta a waste if a meteorite the size of Jupiter rammed into earth and destroyed everything? Would it matter if Hitler killed 6 million people in his reign of 4 years? This is what nothingness promise: hopelessness. If life promises only the things that we can see, then the hedonists should be our king, as their belief of “enjoying life what it lasts” would be the only worthwhile thing to do in our living years. Therefore we should work with all our hearts so that we can afford to indulge ourselves in the pleasures of life. Family values are only important if they bring happiness to us. Life should only be protected if it is convenient. There is no such thing as right or wrong, as what is important is “now” and let the future take care of itself. We should protect the environment, only if it can promise us a more beautiful vacationing venue in the future. We should only be friends with those who are willing to be our friends, and of course, only if it is convenient. Sex should be the ultimate aim in our life, and it should serve us, thus it not who we share it with, but rather, we need to make the best of every “opportunity” that we have because “opportunity waits for no men”. Marriage, hah, of course, is so that we can show the world how noble we are that we are willing to share our lives with only one person in the whole world, and the one day that we spend during the wedding ritual should suffice. After that, it’s every man for their own….
Sad isn’t it? And sadder still because what I’ve just describe has truth in it, because from the news that we read in papers and hear on the TV undeniably reveals that. “But we are not crooks!” Of course you are not, compared to Hitler, Stalin, and Manson. In the eyes of our own, we are only doing things that we “deem” best for that situation, and time after time, we would have the perfect reason to justify it.
So we come back again to the question “what is the point?” The way I see it, if nothing is eternal, in which I’m pretty confident that this world is one of them, lets then get busy choosing our hedonistic king. But rest assured, that in fact, there is one thing that is eternal, and lo and behold, its no other than God. “God? Bah… give me something else” Something else? You mean someone else? Well, the truth is, there is no one else. There is no one else who can give us hope. Let me introduce this God to you. His name, well, is God. I’m not quite sure if He has a last name, or whether it is His first name, but I’m pretty sure He has plenty of other names, such as Lord, Almighty, The Great I am, and so on. The good news is that this Almighty God is a “good” God. Why is this good news you say? Well, it would be bad news if this God was an “evil” God. Now, this is a very important point. Because it He was an evil God, then we would be back at square one. However, it’s good news because He is a “good” God. In fact, there’s no other that’s as good as him. There’s no other like Him. And the best part is that, He’s on our side. He is for us, and He is with us.
I know some of you who are reading this are probably going “Hmmph! That’s the best you got?” Well, the truth is there is more. Deep inside our soul, there’s always the longing for the “perfect” situation, meaning that “life is NOT supposed to be this way!” For some reason, is as though there is this “standard” that is built in us telling us that suffering, hurt, sickness, sadness, depression, and we would coin as evil is not “supposed” to be. Why is that? Why is it that we keep telling ourselves that “life can be better than this”? Why is it that for some of us, we continue to remain stubborn, not wanting to accept the fact that that’s all life has to offer. It seems that life holds something greater and much more beautiful than what we can see with our earthly eyes. Well, the good news is that this is because the bible says that we are created in the image of God. This means that we were formed by Him, and when He made us, he instilled a little of Himself in us, giving us a “sense” of His ways and attributes. He gave us a conscience, so that when we see injustice, we would shudder in our soul, and when we see evil, we would desire for justice.
But our human race has gotten to the stage that we are trying to “overwrite” that built-in program. It’s as though we are trying to rewrite the truth table in our mental circuits, that when we see something evil, we would say that it is good, and when we see something good, we will call it evil. Some theologists call this “deception”, which means that we are trying to deceive ourselves. The apostle Paul mentioned in his letters to the Romans that it is “the searing” of the conscience, so that they would be able to overcome what they felt. Society, thru the influencing of the media has come where there is no more such thing as good or evil. Abortion, homosexual marriages, adultery is considered as a “norm” these days, and if you’re still questioning these issues, it shows that you’re “outdated” or “backward” or worse “prejudice”. What if in 5 years time, murder would be also considered as a “norm”, just as long as we have enough reason to justify it. What if nations begin to legalize marriages between human and animals or anything else they can imagine? What if there’s no such thing as rape? What if animal’s lives are place as equal with lives of humans? What if there’s no such thing as God – wait, I think that’s already done…
The issue here is that there needs to be a foundation for all things. If we own houses that are not properly fixed to the ground, then every time when the wind blows, we would have a different address, or every time when somebody plays a prank and move our houses in the night to a different location, we would have to figure out which state we are in. But God has laid the foundation of this earth, and with that, He instilled what we would call today “order”. When He designed the cosmos, He made sure that the earth would not be too far way from the Sun, or else all life would cease, not being too close to it, or all of His creation would burn up. He made sure that the earth would orbit the sun in such a way that there would be 4 seasons for some, and while others would enjoy the hot or the cold the place could offer. He looked into the details of creating ground that could bear food for us so that we do not have to create food on our own, that we would only need to work the ground, and then would be able to enjoy its return. But of course, there’s also the dark side of His creation, at least in our own eyes. Earthquakes, storms, tornados, drought, famine, wars, human being’s shortcomings are all part of His perfect plan. He never intended for human beings to fall, but He definitely did not abandon us when we fell. He gave the law to us so that we might be able to see that we need Him, not so that we can be independent of Him.
Without God, there’s no hope. And without hope, there’s no point of anything. Everything is just a spur of the moment. However, there’s a God, and because of that, there’s hope. And with hope bring meaning to the things that we fight for, to the people that we love and protect and cherish, to the ideals that we strive for, and definitely to the dreams and desires that God have given us, knowing that one day, all these will be fulfilled in the life to come, if not now. God is calling us to love Him, He is calling us to turn back to Him, to give Him a chance to love us back by being able to walk with us, talk to us, and even be in love with us. What’s your point of doing things in this life? What are your aspirations? What are your dreams and desires? God is calling us back to him so that He can fulfill all that He has given us – that perfection that causes to long and desire for what remains unseen.
The meaning of life – well, get to know God, and you shall soon find out.
August 15, 2004
Starbucks – Midvalley Shopping Mall, Malaysia.