“I think I was meant to meet you,” she declared.
A curled American red, white, and blue flag in the corner and a large crucifix in the backdrop framed her face of clarity and certainty. She said it with such conviction that I felt humbled, startled, and bewildered with a slight chill that went up my spine and made the hairs on my arms stand up.
No one had ever said this to me. I did not know what to say.
I had just finished playing on “Hardy” (my beloved nickname for the abandoned piano I have escaped to and practice on in the last 4 months) at the Parish hall at one of the local churches. No one had heard me strike or play a key until now when this woman and her husband walked in on me practicing “Ode to Joy” by Beethoven and complimenting me on my extremely novice musical skills. I felt revealed, invaded, and suddenly very bashful that strangers had heard me playing the piano.
She seemed to not take notice on my shyness and continued, “God put us here in this room and this time for us to meet."
"Okay," I said slowly, eyeing the EXIT sign.
"Let me explain. My husband and I are here just checking on the layout of this Parish hall because we are going to be hosting a weekly seminar on ‘The Meaning of Life’.”
Without missing a beat, I said, “Well, I think I know the meaning of life.”
She looked at me intrigued and as though she was trying to make sense of me, “What?”
“To Live it,” I said simply.
Her eyes glittered and she broke into a warm and wide smile. “You would be perfect for this!”
I wanted to say to her that the meaning and priceless value of life that we come to appreciate is when we experience life in all its sharpest and darkest of points alongside its most beautiful and finest of plateaus that create a mosaic of us from all our shattered shards. But, I didn’t say anything.
She exclaimed, “This will all be about faith, Christ, and discussions on the meaning of life. And,” she paused for a dramatic flair, ”There will be a free dinner.”
I was sold.
On a quiet and calm Sunday evening, I traipsed to the very first session on “The Meaning of Life.” After a hearty and filling dinner of lasagna drenched in sauce and a small salad, a DVD was popped in where random strangers in the New York City streets were asked: “What do you think is the meaning of life?” Most responses were stumped and speechless. Some were full of clarity and certainty. All responses were varied and prompted a discussion I had with bunch of strangers I met that night on the meaning to life AND if there really is a purpose and meaning to everything and everyone we encounter and endure. I left that night with one sure thing: We, as humans, are flawed, struggle, forever works in progress, and end up living with more questions than answers as “What is the purpose of MY life in world of billions of people? What is the meaning of MY life?”
The first time I asked “What is the purpose in MY life?” was when I recovered from my second kidney transplant rejection at 12-years-old. It was the death of my second donor who was only 4-years-old who made me question this. I was convinced that I had to be given this second chance for a reason. I was certain that my purpose was to help others, be as a good of a person as possible, and life my life to the fullest every single day because me living my life was being and living the legacy of both of my donors.
At the seminar, one of the participants said: “I think your meaning of life and the views on the meaning of life change at different stages and ages of your life.”
I could not agree more with this. Who I am now in my 30’s is very different from who I was when I was a 12-years-old, but the very cores of me have remained true to live my life by doing good for others and being good. Being and doing good daily is difficult when there are so many temptations from the outside material world and the inside turmoil demons that are great obstacles. It’s funny how life can be so routine and simple every day, but then laced with so many little things that end up being big moments that make up our lives and who we are. I believe there is a reason for everything we endure and everyone we encounter from all those little pieces that make up the greater picture. I do not think anything that happens or anyone we meet is an accident or a coincidence.
My Dad recently said to me that sometimes there isn’t a reason for things that happen in life. More often than not, I can find a hidden meaning, reason, and lesson behind everything in life, but, sometimes, I am simply stumped with more questions than answers. Maybe the answer and reason to these unanswered experiences is to be at peace with these experiences that do not have anything solid to make us more fluid beings.
Sometimes when I am down and really struggling with the fact that there are no shortcuts, I think back to all the times the dots in my life seemed so disconnected and realize how they all somehow connected to who I am and where I am now and going forward. Do you ever look back on your life to all the dots that seemed so disconnected to learn without any shortcuts how they somehow all connected to where you are right here and now in this very moment in time?
Do you think everything and everyone has a purpose in their own lives as well as in our lives? Do you there may be absolutely no reason at all and there are just accidents or coincidences in life? What about fate and destiny? What do you think the meaning of life is?
For now, I hold true to my definition on the meaning of life: LIVE IT.
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,