Thursday, June 15, 2006

Worth Living For

Nothing is worth living for if it's not worth dying for.
- Anna Venger
I've been listening to "Ethics: A History of Moral Thought" by Peter Kreeft of Boston College. It's one of "The Modern Scholar" selections. I listened to it before, but when driving around, I miss bits and pieces, so now I'm listening again and taking notes--a much more time consuming process.

During one of the lectures, some issues were brought up that transported me back to my teenage years, a place I don't often like to revisit as being a teenager could really suck, but these were positive memories. I had made a decision to follow Christ. In actuality, He had made a decision to make me His sister, His disciple, but from my perspective, I was doing the choosing. Honestly, it was under duress. Being a Christian, as far as I could see, meant I was choosing a boring life. In fact, I was choosing Life, boring or otherwise, and in the years to come that would be borne out, but I digress...

I had taken stock of Life, what was important, what wasn't, what would last and what was merely temporal. Concluding that all the flashy stuff that looked like the most fun, really would lead to emptiness or worse, destruction, I chose the boring and staid. What was it that people were living for? Wealth? Popularity? Fashion? Drugs? Thrills? Entertainment? You get the idea. Looking at examples of unhappiness in the lives of people who had followed any of these gods, I figured there must be a better way. These things didn't seem to give lasting joy. If we knew that our lives were ending in a day or a week, would any of these things that capture our attention be all that important any more?

So, to keep myself balanced, to keep my eyes on the goal, I made a poster with those words, "Nothing is worth living for if it's not worth dying for." And die we all must one day. Steven Covey puts it a little nicer, I suppose, with his "Begin with the end in mind". I like that too. When we're on our deathbeds one day, when we look back on our lives, what will have mattered most? What will we hope to have accomplished? Start with that picture and order your life accordingly.

For me, my faith is worth it. While I gravitate toward apologetics (reasons for Faith), all the theology and logic in the world can't match the fact that I know Jesus Christ as my personal hero. Therefore, Faith is worth living and dying for.

Family is worth it. My family would be worth dying for, and my people are therefore worth living for. Even though being a mom was exhausting and there were many things I wanted to do for me that weren't getting done, collapsing into bed at night, I could thank God that He had allowed me to serve them one more day. "Thank You for my health, for my mobility as it helped me meet their needs once more. Thank You for the intelligence to meet the unique challenges my family faces. I can't imagine going back to a life without my people."

My most beloved friends are worth dying for. There are a few people whom I love so much that I can be pretty sure I would lay down my life for them (and they for me). Everyone should have a friend or two like that. My heart breaks for the people I meet who have no one with whom they are that close.

Is wealth worth it? On our deathbeds will we care that we have accumulated lots of treasures or would we give them all up for just one more day with our loved ones? Is great success in a career worth it or would we chuck our jobs for more time with our people? Wealth and career and not bad things, but to me they are tools to meet the needs of self and others, not ends in themselves. There are so many things that draw away our attention from eternal values. I, for one, need to reground myself regularly as I get drawn off course by flashy distractions embarrassingly easily.

If you've come this far with me this morning, I thank you. Generally, I don't "preach" on my blog although my worldview invariably will seep through. Anyway, my goal this morning hasn't been to force a philosophy on anyone. I just had some thoughts in my heart that made their way onto my computer screen, and you all just got a little glimpse into my soul, whether you wanted it or not.

I wish you an uplifting day.


At 6/15/2006 6:57 PM, Blogger Christopher Taylor said...

The movie "Rebel Without a Cause" is considered a classic, it launched a monster (if cut short) career for young actor James Dean. In it, he's constantly tortured, upset, and rebellious... but like the title says, when his parents ask him what he's so upset about he cries "I DON'T KNOW!!!!"

The point here is that he's upset, but he doesn't have a clue what about. Various organizations and cultural movements try to take advantage of that internal turmoil - movements like the far left, who pretend the fear and unhappiness deep down these kids feel is due to George Bush or the GOP.

What they are missing is something to live for. They have no purpose, they have nothing for their soul. The entire world is trying to beat into children's and teenagers heads that the only thing that exists is what can be tested scientifically or known with one's senses.


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