Life, that act of living out one’s days: it is mysteriously hard to define.
Life by its very nature has a chameleon aspect to it. Adapting to its surroundings, changing with the ebb and flow. Mirroring shadows. On good days, life is a bed of roses. Life is a year full of sunny summer days, a bowl of the creamiest ice cream ever to tempt the taste buds, an idyllic visit to a childhood home, a dream vacation to a tropical paradise. On those days, life is better than the best. Life is grand.
But when life turns dark, those dismal, dreary days when plans change and the ground shifts beneath the feet, life appears desperate, hopeless- like a deep pit with no way out or like a rocky chasm that has been placed between truth and hope. It appears during these times that there is a divide separating the living from the near dead. The latter, unable to lift their heads and cry for help, drowning in their own self-pity. It is a hopeless place, a place of despair. When life appears aligned with menacing storm clouds and endless tunnels that appear to have no escape.
Life can be somewhere in between the best and the worst, in that no man’s land. Finding itself in the land of disappointment. A place where nothing is good enough, where there is little to satisfy or quench thirst. Where gratitude has been crucified along with contentment. Where peace is crushed under the heel of selfish desires. A place where thankful hearts are scorned. Or perhaps the in between of life can be considered as merely complacency, where one is never committed to live life to the fullest potential or scope. Where endurance and perseverance are mocked. Where ambition is scorned.
Life is complicated. But life is really what you make of it, is it not? Life is certainly that, if it is anything.
I have visited all these places. I have traveled many miles through torrential storms, weathered the ride and come to experience life and some of its offerings. And I echo the sacred Poet who penned these words, “All is vanity.” Is there anything new under the sun? Is there hope for more than this? Is there a deeper meaning to life? There must be more than this. For this life is not what was dreamed it would be. There are far too many disappointments. There have been choices made that could be reversed. There are struggles on a daily basis to accept, embrace and trust that there is a plan and purpose in all of this. That beauty can rise from ashes. That new wine can burst forth from old wine skins. That hope can and will prevail.
To choose to embrace the life that has been given is to believe that miracles do happen, dreams can come true and that it truly is a wonderful life. Life is lived in the here and now, not back in the past or forward in the future. There are choices that affect today. And when the choice is made in the present to make the best of the life one is given, then life becomes a thing of beauty. Life is beautiful in a raw, ethereal way. For true beauty is deeper than surface level, and the beauty that is observed in a life lived well is awe-inspiring. Pushing us ever onward.
And that kind of life is worth the living.