On the measure of life

It is so easy to measure life by what you are worried about and your progress in making it where you have less to worry about.   I am guilty so often of measuring my happiness by the status of whatever I am angry about or whatever seems to
be today’s biggest threat or disappointment. In this context life is always about becoming free from one pain or another.

In the movie “The Bucket List” Morgan Freeman tells Jack Nicholson how the ancient Egyptian gods would evaluate the lives of human beings. “They would only ask two questions : In your life did you find joy? Did others get joy from your life?”

Another way perhaps to ask the question : Have you been so busy with what is wrong that you have forgotten that you can be what is right? At times what I struggle with fills me and leaves me with the sense there is nothing else in life. Life is about fatigue and being tired of fighting and wondering in the scheme of things if it all even really matters. I lose any sense that there are things I struggle for and not simply with I am not simply defined by what is hard. Somethings are important regardless of what is hard. What is hard is so real and no one can pass judgement on my pain anymore than I can on theirs. But my life is more than a symptom of what is hard and I want so badly both for me and for others to know the value of what I treasure.

I struggle with much. There is a lot I wish I was “free from….” But there is much I wish I was more “free to….” I wish I was more free to listen to others, to connect with them and help confirm for them their worth. I wish I was more free to stand for principles that matter to me even when circumstances make it difficult or when standing up leaves me standing alone. I wish I was more free to enjoy good things and good times and to be more thankful for the blessings I have and the opportunities life gives. I wish I was more free to know that even in bad times or painful times that they are not all times.

I think joy is about giving and giving is so much easier when life is about importance and not urgency. Life is about opportunity and deprivation. And sometimes it is hard to remember that the opportunity you give is as important as the opportunity you get. Joy is one of those strange things that grows bigger the more you give it away.

Perhaps we would all be better served by not waiting for the Egyptian gods to ask.

May tomorrow be measured to you by joy given and joy received. And may it be a very good day.


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