Have you thought about what you want people to say about you after you’re gone? Can you hear the voice saying, “He was a great man?” Or “She really will be missed.” What else do they say?
One of the strangest phenomena of life is to engage in work that will last long after death. Isn’t that a lot like investing all your money so that future generations can bare interest in it? Perhaps, yet if you look deep in your own heart, you’ll find something that drives you to make this kind of contribution—something that drives every human being to find a purpose that lives on after death.
Do you hope to memorialize your name? Have a name that is whispered with reverent awe? Do you hope to have your face carved upon 50 ft of granite rock? Is the answer that simple? Is the purpose of lifetime contribution an ego-driven desire for a mortal being to have an immortal name or is it something more?
A child alive today will die tomorrow. A baby that had the potential to be the next Einstein will die from a complication at birth. The circumstances of life are not set in stone. We are not all meant to live life through to old age. We’ve grown to perceive life as a full cycle with a certain number of years in between. If all of those years aren’t lived out, it’s a tragedy. A tragedy because a human’s potential was never realized. A tragedy because a spark was snuffed out before it ever became a flame.
By inhabiting a body, we accept these risks. We expose our mortal flesh to the laws of the physical environment around us. The trade-off isn’t so bad when you think about it. The problem comes when we construct mortal fantasies of what life should be like. When life doesn’t conform to our fantasy we grow upset, frustrated, or depressed.
We are alive; let us live. We have the ability to experience; let us experience. We have the ability to learn; let us learn. The meaning of life can be grasped in a moment. A moment so brief it often evades our perception.
What meaning stands behind the dramatic unfolding of life? What single truth can we grasp and hang onto for dear life when all other truths around us seem to fade with time?
These moments are strung together in a series we call events. These events are strung together in a series we call life. When we seize the moment and bend it according to our will, a will driven by the spirit deep inside us, then we have discovered the meaning of life, a meaning for us that shall go on long after we depart this Earth.