one small question.

April 24, 2014

Last month there was an email in my inbox with the subject line ‘is your life meaningful?’ it came from donald miller – or at least the people who are the public persona/email sending engine behind donald miller. yes, the very same donald miller i wrote about a million years ago. because donald miller had a dog named lucy like i had a dog named lucy and sought truth and meaning like i seek truth and meaning and lived in cool portland, oregon and just seemed dreamy and hungry in all the right ways. and it is true that donald miller is a big serious christian and i am not a big serious christian but it was just a computer crush anyway and in my crush-drunk brain i thought, well if mary matalin and james carville can do it, certainly donald miller and i can. in the end that reasoning didn’t matter for my crush was short-lived as i ran head on in to a very tall man who became a real crush in the real world and then a very lovely friend. but i think i’ve already told that story here somewhere.

so there in the junk folder is this question. and it catches my eye because as much as i try to do, and to help, and to avail, and to listen, and to parent, and as many things there are to do on a daily basis – responsibilities and chores and friends and desires and volunteer opps and dogs to rescue and coffees to drink with gorgeous like-minded coffee drinkers, i had to ask myself, is my life meaningful? more importantly, i had to ask myself, do i ever ask myself that question? my answer? i don’t think i do.

i look for, and try to find meaning, everywhere. for those of you who have read my blog, or who know me even a squeak, i imagine that is no surprise, FOR I WRITE ABOUT IT ALL THE DAMN TIME. my day to day life is an attempt at a fluid, eyes-wide-open, truthful embrace of the people and circumstances that make it up – yet a simple question in a mass email caught my eye and sort of…halted me. it seems contrary, this search and this surprise. and then it bonked me right on the head: as much as i value and search for meaning, that doesn’t mean my life is meaningful.

i am fifty. well not really but i may as well be. in truth i just turned 49 last month and so this is the last year of my forties and i’ll be damned if it isn’t the most beautiful thing ever. i wish i could bottle this calm and this experience and this knowing of things and give it to my younger friends so they could know in their thirties what i know now as i near the end of a half century of life. i spoke tonight with my gorgeous friend stephen who will turn 50 soon also and touched upon how forgiving the lines of youth are, but how beautiful it feels to be here. we talked about the relevance of age, and how the physicality, the actuality of it need not be counted when one lives their life with a spirited and curious heart.

i find this such good news as i take stock and see that the people i choose to be with and get to be with run the gamut from twenty to eighty. my valentine has this magnetic pull toward old people – and they to him – and i must admit the utter charm of it and respect exhibited there fills me with happiness and inspires me to love him more. but it is more than etiquette – he learns from them, and they from him. can we learn our whole lives, ask the big questions of our elders, those who have been here longer and know so much more than we do? god i hope so; we have so much to learn.

but back to meaning.full.ness {if you are reading this addie, that was my ode to you}. how do we know if our lives have meaning? meaning is personal, it has to be, and varied. it is our history, what we’ve been taught has meaning and what we’ve run in to on our own. meaning, i think, must be the force that drives our heart and makes it feel fuller than we thought possible. and in my experience it can come from the most surprising and unlikely places. i don’t assume that meaning for everyone necessarily equals goodness, but for me i can at the very least say, it does. and to courageously take it a step further, meaning in my heart is about a certain selflessness. the choice to get out of my own way and move away from my own preoccupations and do something for someone else.

for when i take a deep breath and the extra two minutes i really don’t have to spare, just to watch something my daughter absolutely insists i must see, and her eyes shine and her words come staccato fast, there is meaning. and when my new friend and neighbor dorothy – the pretty old woman i’ve seen for five years of neighborhood walks but just recently introduced myself to – blows me a kiss from across the street in her bathrobe, there is meaning. when my yoga teacher walks by me as i stretch in down dog and places a light hand on the small of my back just to connect and encourage, there is meaning. when one dog out of a zillion in shelter gets pulled to foster or a new home because a hundred emails and facebook shares and blog posts were networked by the good dog people, there is meaning. when i manage to do something for my sister, who does so much for everyone, there is meaning. finally, when i let the world drop and the to-do lists fade for a bit, and surrender to a thousand possible moments every day of love and embrace and kindness and need and tenderness, there is meaning.

so to you donald miller, my enigmatic unfriend, i say yes. meaning is everywhere, swirling in great waves of grace and possibility, and within it, my life is full. of. meaning.







2 Responses to “one small question.”

  1. Melly Says:

    So good!! And you “mean” so much to me!!! Love you friend. xoxo

  2. Loreen Says:

    did i miss a crush? i mean a blog?
    who’s don m, sista.
    and for me – i’m just full of mean. like owen. ;).

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