11 August 2017
I’ve always thought about the rites of passage and the different stages in our lives like a sausage machine. We get fed into the system and come out the other side stuffed, and then we shrivel and get ready to die. I watched the movie “Boyhood” on the plane once and was struck with those thoughts again. This story about the life of an ordinary boy in contemporary America, growing up in with a sister and a single mom, was an oddly gripping 2 and a half hours of largely uneventful milestones of a young boy from about the age of 7 or 8 to his teens, when he discovers himself. He is a broody melancholy character who meanders through his life with existential angst, until he finds a girl who shares his thirst for finding meaning to it all. It ends on a more or less happy note leaving the viewer to imagine the rest of his life going through the normal motions of college, job and career building, marrying, having children, maybe divorcing, acquiring a better house, car and later downsizing. His 3 times divorced mom, having gone through the steps religiously, sums it all up when he is leaving for college, and she is cleaning house to down size to a flat-let now that the kids are leaving. She breaks down and realizes that her life has passed her by and that all she did was work, study, marry divorce and raise the kids. “I thought there would be more” she cries. The movie brought me back to question of life purpose.
Is that it? Is that what life is about? Are we here only to find partners, have kids, get jobs and ‘things’ and prepare our children for life so that they can start it all over again, and maybe, if we have time do some community or charity work in between? And to the devout, pray and aspire to an unachievable height of nothingness. Eat, pray love. Although working, marrying etc. are important and necessary parts of our lives, they cannot in themselves be the purpose of our lives. They are part of our journey, but surely there must be more. Growing up I have been preoccupied with gaining success in this world and would pray in my early years for various things, mostly to do with my comfort and success in the world. What if my time in the world were short, what then, what would the sense be in acquiring things to make me comfortable in a world that I may depart from at any time? I certainly do not want to be at my deathbed wondering what more I could have done. And if I had done those things, would they give me more fulfilment or peace at the time of my departure from this world? Worse still, what if God forbid I have an unexpected and sudden passing, could I say I have done what I came here for? I am here in this all-consuming world as a traveller en route to my true destination. The glamour and false treasures that the world dangles, never satisfies, so it cannot be a real and final destination. It is almost like a mirage, reflecting unending desire that never satiates. With absolute certainty I felt that my presence here is not just to eat, pray, love and die, but that I would at the end of my life have to account for how I lived my life and what I did to uplift other people and submit to the natural laws, the laws of God, before my soul returns to its home. How do I answer my Creator upon my return to Him about how I spent my precious short time on this earth? Did I just go through the motions, pray and follow the rules without any real purpose, meaning, love and understanding? I continue to find the answers through examining relationships amongst other things. Our relationships with those closes to us often reveal the parts of ourselves that we conceal. But we need to look carefully, or we will conceal it even from ourselves. Somewhere in the quagmire we must find our meaning. Our purpose. All my love Radia