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Sorting out life’s meaning

Sorting out life’s meaning
Sorting out life’s meaning
Dr. Wayne Willis

“What’s it all about, Alfie? Is it just for the moment we live?” —Burt Bacharach (1966)

Putting a full decade of life behind us in a single day can be sobering. So it was when I turned 50 and 60 and 70. It forced me to look at the bigger picture: where I’d been, where I was at the time and where I seemed to be going. It was heavy for me two days ago when I completed my 80th orbit around what the Genesis creation story termed “our greater light.” Today I write as a card-carrying member of the octogenarian club.

What is it all about? I love what Ludwig Wittgenstein, whom some consider the most brilliant philosopher of the 20th century, concluded: “I don’t know why we are here, but I’m pretty sure that it is not in order to enjoy ourselves.”

A popular bumper sticker in the 1970s proclaimed: “He who dies with the most toys wins.” Critics of materialism took issue: “He who dies with the most toys dies but can’t take his toys with him.”

Ancient Stoics believed it was all about living in harmony with nature, rationality and the cosmic mind.

The Presbyterian Shorter Catechism of 1649 asked: “What’s the chief end of man?” and answered: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” I assume that answer included the women.

Bacharach’s answer came in the form of two more questions: “Are we meant to take more than we give? Or, are we meant to be kind?”

The Jewish prophet Micah gave the answer I aspire to follow ’til I breathe my last: 1. Love justice 2. Practice kindness 3. Walk humbly with God.

That philosophy is simple, clear and measurable. Did I, or did I not, today?

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