The other night I was walking through the neighborhood; this area had no street light and so visibility was very limited. Off in the near distance I heard a kid say, “I’m 16 years old, I know I could die tomorrow, and I haven’t done anything with my life.” As he rode by I noticed he had no lights on his bike, he was wearing dark clothes, steering his bike with one hand while holding onto a skateboard with the other – but that’s another story. I remember hearing him so clearly say, “I haven’t done anything with my life.”
Philosophers and people with too much time on their hands often wonder about the purpose of life. To me the purpose of life is, life; living completely in the moment. What happened yesterday is over (the consequences may linger but it’s over) and tomorrow can be a lifetime away. To me, living in the moment is reflected in the words of Henry David Thoreau, “I [want] to live deep and suck all the marrow out of life”. Personally, I want to breathe deep the breath of life.
Life has a need to reproduce life, from a single cell Amoeba to the complicated cellular make up of a human- life has a need to produce life. In our younger years our hormones drive us to reproduce. But giving life is more than a biological thing.
When we smile and offer good words, we give life. When we touch, listen, or care- we give life. But we also have the ability to give death. (Maybe that’s part of what it means to be created in the image of God, we can give life and we can give death). We give death when we say things that hurt, ignore those in need, or do things that destroy another person’s hope and dreams.
When I was at my sickest this year, I wondered about the point of life- but I was alive, and I embraced life and I embraced the pain.
My religious perspective:
The kid on the bike, if I was on the other end of that phone conversation, I would have asked two questions: are you living completely in the moment, living each moment as a gift from God? If so, then you’ve done something with your life. The second question would be, have you given life? As God has given you life, have you given others life? Offer words of encouragement, called your grandmother, gave a smile to the new kid at school? If you can answer, Yes, to both questions then you’ve lived life to its fullest.
I hope you are living the life God has entrusted to you.