“As I near the end of my life, I can’t help but wonder, what does it all mean?”
My mother asked me that question as we chatted over coffee one afternoon. Her health was taking a turn for the worse and she knew that her life was coming to an end.
She continued to say, “What have I done? My life seems meaningless to me.”
I don’t believe she was looking for an answer from me, she was simply expressing how she felt.
I, however, was compelled to respond, for her life had a lot of purpose and meaning. I wanted to give her some comfort and sense of worth as she neared her last days.
Here is what I said…
“Mom, you have always been there for me. You provided support and encouragement for all that I did. I knew that you deeply cared for me. During good times we laughed and celebrated. In difficult times, you provided a listening ear and emotional support.
Throughout your life, you have lived true to your values. Family always came before anything else. You are honest, kind and caring. You have been a devoted friend and some people have called you friend for over 70 years. You are the person who brought people together, for you valued your relationships and knew that it was people who were important, not things.
People describe you as patient and forgiving. They value your honesty and openness and your love of laughter. You welcomed anyone into your home and did not discriminate against anyone.
Whether it was a lifelong friend or someone whom you met in the ladies’ washroom at the mall, you took a genuine interest in the lives of others, and even for a brief moment, they felt loved and encouraged.
You have shaped the person I have become and your influence has helped me to help others and to devote my life to making a difference for others, especially those who may not have the strength to speak up for themselves.
I know that you didn’t work outside of the home and with so much emphasis these days on career and making money, that doesn’t define someone’s value in life. You have had an impact on so many people and you have made a difference in this world, just by being you.”
I think the chat gave her a chance to reflect on her life and realize that her life did have meaning and a lot of value.
So many of us, especially during the Holiday season, ask the same question, “What is the purpose and meaning of my life?” There seems to be this unspoken pressure to do something big and success is only achieved if you do it.
Spiritual health is defined as a person’s search for purpose and meaning in their life. The World Health Organizations recognizes spiritual health as one of the four dimensions of health, along with social, mental and physical health.
How do we realize our own life purpose and meaning?
Here are my thoughts…
- Know that your presence is a gift to the world.
- Understand that life can be what you want it to be.
- Take time to know your values and live consistently with your beliefs.
- Focus on the important things in your life and be tolerant of others.
- Forgive others, especially people who have tested your emotions, for they need you the most.
- Put energy into action, rather than on worry and fear.
- Care about others genuinely and offer help whenever you can.
- Pay attention to what is happening around you for there is a life lesson in each day.
- Laugh, cry and scream with sincerity.
- Take time to sit quietly, relax, and just breathe.
- Make your life great, for you hold the power to do so.