“You think it is easier, to know your own tricks, well it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do. You’d think it’s easier to put your finger on the trouble, when the trouble is you.”
U2, The Troubles
I can’t decide if I’m onto something good or if I’ve figured out a way to feel more in control of my life. My personality type is one that is always searching for the meaning of life. The type who regularly hears, “Stop worrying about it, just live! You think too much! You’re too sensitive! Chill out!”
Before now, I believed that finding meaning in life was the ultimate goal. That finding a particular purpose and a place of my own where I fit would dispel any voices that rose up saying, “What’s the point?” I still think it’s a valuable exercise, but maybe not the point.
And sometimes in my search, I tend to mix up what is valuable for me versus what is universal. Thinking about chaos lately has made me wonder, was I using the search for meaning as an attempt to create some sort of existential order for myself? Some way to categorize the completely absurd situations that regularly arise in life? Maybe.
I hit a major snag with my idea that meaning is the point. I surrounded myself with others on the same path and who marched to the drum and discovered that I can have meaning to what I do and still suffer. In my relationships, I ran into some who expended extraordinary energy in the pursuit of meaning and were Class A sons-a-bitches. Gosh, my brilliant view then seemed to be so narrow. I did the thing that made me believe that I could control outcomes.
My latest view is held a bit more loosely. Meaning, I know it is my way of walking through the chaos of life without breaking down. That I am attempting to make order out of chaos, and maybe that’s okay. I honestly believe that there is power in life by how we walk through the world as individuals. Two of my good friends despise Jordan Peterson, but he pulled me in by his statement that “…is the individuals who change the state, not the state who changes individuals.” So my current job is to grow as an individual. To take responsibility for my own troubles and look for growth on a daily basis. Whether it’s a good day or a bad one, I ask myself, “What did you learn today?”
Rob Bell puts it simply in his description of spirituality as “the idea that life is a gift and how you respond matters.” Amen.