We asked six people in town the same, very challenging question. We told them their answers could be whimsical or serious depending upon their mood and outlook. We gave them 24 hours in which to answer. Here’s what developed when we asked, “What is the meaning of life?”
“Life is what you make it. You know, ‘I think, therefore I am.’ Be a thinker. Be curious. Explore. Take a chance and try things. Of course, plants live but (as far as I know) don’t think. So, human life is much more expansive as we demonstrate in our exploration beyond Earth, and even beyond our solar system. Life, for me, is about expanding knowledge to fill in the unknown with answers that erase ignorance. I think, therefore I am.” – Texarkana, Texas
“When I was asked to give my thoughts on the meaning of life, I was staring at a breath-taking ocean at the Ritz Carlton in Cancun, Mexico. What a funny thing to be asked while sitting in paradise. In fact, I heard someone say earlier, ‘This is the life.’ I, however, agree with Joseph Campbell. He once said, ‘Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.’ I also feel the greatest tragedy in life would be to reach the end and realize you never lived. Live it to the fullest and you shall have no regrets.” – Texarkana, Texas
“What is the Meaning of Life? To realize that we don’t know it all, we can’t possibly learn it all, or do it all, but to enjoy everything you can when you can. Life really isn’t a destination – it’s a journey until the very end. Stay focused on the road and keep it between the ditches.” – Texarkana, Texas
Cathy Brown Smith
“The meaning of life seems rather simple until you sit down to write about it. The first things that come to mind are family, love, faith, togetherness, giving, laughter, and food. I threw ‘food’ in there because – at least for me – it cements the rest of it together. One of my greatest joys is having all my family under one roof, at the same time, and preparing a meal for them. Feeding them, seeing them all together, listening to how their lives are going, and listening to their laughter truly nourishes and replenishes my soul. Usually, my ‘Norman Rockwell moments’ are interrupted by Ralphie, my youngest grandchild, running in and saying something like, ‘Hey! I just invented an Automatic Catapult for Small Dogs! Grab a small dog and meet me outside!’ Automatic Catapults for Small Dogs aside, I love loving them. After all, a very wise man once said, ‘And in the end, the love you get is equal to the love you give.’” – Umpire, Ark.
Lee Ann Zuliani Barker
“Everyone is scurrying around, trying to find out just that, (the meaning of life) instead of enjoying the ride. It is right in front of us, every day. Right smack dab in your face. It is what you make it, and we can only aspire to do better with every day we are given – to find out just that.” – Redwater, Texas
“For most of time, we were the center of the universe. We were the lords of all we saw. Our gods looked a lot like us and often shared our foibles. Over the past five centuries that changed not just dramatically, but beyond our ability to comprehend or describe our position in a universe that now, in itself, may only be a tiny spec in something that is so far beyond our abilities to consider that it can only be described in mathematical terms. I know many who have lost their faith as the concept of any single entity, God, being creator of all has become simply untenable in their new ‘understanding.’ Yet our science has not so far been able to actually define ‘gravity,’ much less create or manipulate it. Before we become too proud of our science, we should contemplate that simple truth. We are endowed by our Creator with abilities to figure out not only gravity, but even how to bring a star into being if we work at it long enough and manage to avoid self-destruction.
“For those of us who remain people of faith there is a simple way of keeping science in proper perspective: Science tells us how it was done, faith tells us by Whose will.
“Our Creator expects us to figure out how it was done. Evolution is science, good science. It tells us nothing about ‘Who did it,’ but it tells us how. That’s important. One of the most important things we learn from evolutionary science is that almost nothing we hold ‘human’ today has any use in evolution. We are not ‘freaks of nature,’ we are children of God and evolution clearly demonstrates that. My ability to write this has zero usefulness to evolution of the fittest. My ancestors were already ‘the fittest’ a million years ago, and my cell phone would have not impressed them as much as a good spear point.
“All human existence on this planet is so brief as to not show up on any meaningful time scale. The lifespan of an individual human? Of no more note than a shooting star.
“My opinion of the meaning of life is this: We are in school. We possess powers so far beyond our nearest animal neighbors as to clearly set apart. We love, we learn, we reach out to understand things like THE MEANING OF LIFE. Our dogs don’t do that, nor does any other creature we have ever observed.
“The loss of my daughter at age 13 was a personal loss so great as to not be reducible to words. But her life was such a testimony to the glory of God, whose grace and peace radiated from her from the moment I first beheld her to the moment I bade her a temporary goodbye in her new assignment, that I have left it at this to those who express their condolences about her dying so young: ‘She graduated with honors. While I miss her terribly the Headmaster could not hold her back just for me.’
“Having observed a young human with a direct connection to the Almighty, that was clear to all who ever met her, has so invigorated my own efforts at mastering the curriculum He has set out for us that each and every new discovery of science causes my soul to sing ‘Alleluia! How great Thou art!’” — Texarkana, Ark.