From my first published volume of poetry: A Few Thoughts About LifeWe enter life as single individuals, but we do not enter it alone. No one has ever been born alone. Were you alone at birth? Or were you accompanied and surrounded by loving care? A newborn child has no awareness of that great gift of love, and yet, perhaps childlike innocence innately grasps it far better than we do in our advanced wisdom, having outgrown, as we think, those childish ways. We are all so interdependent with others in life, from the very start. But, amazingly, so many of us feel very much alone. Life can be lonely. Despite the nature of things, it is easy to live in not so blissful ignorance of our social nature. We are made to know and to be known, yet we seem not to realize it. Are you yet aware of the stupendous fact of others around you? Far too often we are blind to the value of relationship with others. We are blind and we simply do not see it. What do you think it worth to love another and be loved in return? How many things we so foolishly think worth more! Inanimate objects like mere green paper or electronically projected numbers on a screen that say we now are worth more because the figure is greater; mechanically fitted pieces of metal and plastic designed to accomplish any of an infinite variety of physical tasks; clothes, houses, collectibles, and all other things that you possess. What are they really worth? Do they fulfill your inner longing in life? Or perhaps you have advanced beyond these mere lifeless things but yet are enchanted by the spell of artificial relationship. Whom do you love more: The pretended life of some character in a television series? One of any number of actors or athletes or entertainers who live in a distant land and whom you will never know or likely meet or even see? Or the person right beside you? What about the person right beside you! Do you even know him? I mean, do you know more than his name and maybe a few superficial things about him? Can you truly say that you know who he is? How many people do you really know? To whom can you truly say “friends and loved ones”? If you addressed that whole body of souls, how many would they number? Perhaps we should keep accounts with those numbers and spend our energies increasing that figure. That would be an account worth owning. Sometimes a person knows everyone and yet is lonely because he knows no one and no one knows him. True depth of relationship is not easy. It takes work and time and energy to be involved in someone’s life. And I warn you, if you decide to seek true and deep relationship with another, there will probably be some pain. When an unknown person speaks against you, it does not go so deep. But when that person is loved, it is very different. And nobody is perfect. Don’t expect to find the perfect friend or perfect wife or husband or to have the perfect father or mother or son or daughter. That person simply does not exist. No one will be kind to you always. No one will constantly be reasonable and reliable. There will be some pain and some difficulty. With real people, you have to accept what reality gives. It is easier to live superficially or artificially. But if you choose to seek out true relationship with another living soul, with firmness and resolve not to retreat at every setback, though it hurts, you will find also great joy which will be a more than sufficient recompense. In truth, life is rather meaningless without that recompense of sharing love with another. What would life be without father and mother? What would it be without deep friendship? What would it be without the true love of a wife? Have you ever known the deep satisfaction that comes in life when you are a part of a home and a family? That is not easy to replace. Nor is it easy to produce. And it is impossible to fabricate, though we try in countless ways enough. Things will not satisfy you. There is a thirst within you for relationship that cannot be quenched with things. Nor can it be satisfied by using pets and animals as an outlet for your pent up affections. Pets are living and good, but they are not people. You need to know and love people in order to know joy. And yet, even that will be found wanting if you stop there, for there is a yet higher Living One who knows you and wants to be known by you. The Author of life and Creator of all things, in whom we live and move and have our being, is the only one who can bring true vitality to your life. In your thirst to know another, do not fail to seek first the great I AM. Together, we find that great sum of wisdom and truth: Love God and love man. In this, you not only fulfill righteousness, but you will find the fullness of life itself.
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What is life really about? More and more I realize that people really count for a lot in life. Relationship, love, closeness with others, this is at the heart of life in many ways.
But that realization is also pretty painful as I realize how few people I really have depth of relationship with. I fear that the vast bulk of relationships in society are rather superficial. Sure, we are friendly enough with one another, but that is a far cry from truly loving one another as deep friends. If we don’t share a bit more deeply in one another’s lives, what right do we have to claim love for one another?
I have learned that I have a lot to learn about relationships. I am not naturally bent by virtue of my personality to be close with others. I tend to keep to myself. But I trust I have changed much and am changing and will change in this regard. We must change and grow. I know that I am like all other people: I need loving relationships with others in order for life to be fulfilling.
And that starts with the Giver of life. We foolishly neglect to start here so often. We cannot enjoy life and have fulfillment in it when we know not God. Our relationships with others will not count for so much until they are based upon Him.