I've been thinking of the meaning of life lately. Sometimes I'm inclined to think there isn't any meaning to it at all. I just want it to have meaning. Other times I think my contributions to the world aren't the things I even notice.
When I saw the word for the week, my contrarian self started writing about Pams instead. I erased all that and decided to sleep on it. I woke up with this image in my mind and remembered one of my childhood Pams finding me as an adult. She passionately talked about how I had said things that helped her at a time when she really needed it.
To be honest, I didn't remember doing it. I was so uncomfortable when she was pouring out her heart to me as an adult I couldn't even take in what she was saying. I remembered her as a nice, if rather sad, girl. I liked talking with her on the school bus. I missed her when she got shipped off to boarding school.
Pam credited me for preventing her suicide. I think that's more credit than I deserve for saying I'd miss her. I suppose I also said things about the possibilities in getting away from her domineering parents. Maybe I even expressed some envy at getting away and having a chance at a fresh start? I can't give myself much credit for something I barely remember. I'm also reminded of another girl I didn't save because I felt so overwhelmed with own life that I didn't want to take on her problems. Maybe it isn't so much what I might've done for Pam as what she did for me? She helped me feel less guilty when I was ripping myself up with guilt.
I'd like to see the map of my life. I want to know what matters and what it all means, but we're all like the bird who is just focused on the next seed. Where we came from and where we're going is too vast a map for us to truly understand. Just take the next step. Follow the trail of seeds. Sooner or later we'll get to the end of the trail and be able to look back and evaluate how we did.
It didn't require work to comfort Pam, it's just my nature to try to help. If the meaning of my life is to spread some kindness, then I'm happy to do my part. I encourage you to spread some love around too. I'm forever grateful to the people who have extended kindness and encouragement to me.
We live in a culture that rewards our work, not who we are. We're evaluated by how much physical stuff we amass. Artists are rated by the quality and quantity of their artwork, but the same standards are used towards people in other professions. Nobody seems to count how many times we hold a door for someone or stop to listen to them.
I may not have a clear view of the map of my life, but I think at least a part of it must be to spread a little sunshine around. I don't know if I'd see it if one of my actions saves a life. What I do know is that recognizing the possibility of making a difference for someone else in whatever ways I can is important to me and I'll try to do more of that going forward in the next year and beyond.
Happy New Year everyone!