Sunday, October 23, 2011

Two Takes on the Context of Living

I recently saw this poem-proverb posted somewhere, and copied it down in my planner...only to find it a few weeks later with no recollection of where I originally read it.

LIVE WITH INTENTION.
WALK TO THE EDGE.
LISTEN HARD. PLAY WITH ABANDON.
PRACTICE WELLNESS. LAUGH. RISK. LOVE.
CONTINUE TO LEARN.
APPRECIATE YOUR FRIENDS.
CHOOSE WITH NO REGRET.
FAIL WITH ENTHUSIASM.
STAND BY YOUR FAMILY.
DO WHAT YOU LOVE.
LIVE AS IF THIS IS ALL THERE IS.

Overall, this modern proverb seems to hold some generally good advice for living life to its fullest.  There's one problem with it, though - in my opinion.  The last phrase kind of irks me.  "Live as if this is all there is."  Doesn't that sort of suck all the hope out of an otherwise uplifting piece of literature?  


If I were to rewrite this my way, the ending would read: Cherish the fact that you are only one minuscule part of a much bigger plan.  My personality bent has always geared me toward finding the connection between myself and the bigger picture - in any activity. I guess you could say I'm context-driven.  It's no wonder, then, that my most beloved author and philosopher is Huston Smith - a now-92-year-old man who was born in China to Methodist missionary parents and chose to spend his life traveling the world, conscientiously practicing five of the major world religions (for at least a decade each, & studying methodically many minority belief systems) with their respective followers, and immersing himself in the culture and spirituality of people groups across the globe.  All this to explore the connections we make between the here and now of our humanity and what lies beyond.

I happen to think that what lies beyond is God, and an everlasting life in his company.  I know that some of you reading my blog believe that's what's in store for you, too.  What do you get out of that last phrase in the proverb above?  The knowledge that my life, work and choices on earth are connected to a much bigger purpose is a considerable source of encouragement and meaning for me; so, in my case, to live as if this is all there is would really be a downer.

I hope I don't step on anyone's toes with my inspirational poem bashing; I just couldn't help but heed the  knee-jerk reaction of something deep inside me as I took in that last line.  On the other hand, I really like the first line; let's end with this call to action....

LIVE WITH INTENTION.

- fin -

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