When Melissa approached me about writing a column for The Charlotte News, I asked what she needed. “The only need is to fill the paper with as much meaningful content as possible.” I’ve been rolling her words over in my mind for a couple of weeks now. It’s a nice image—filling something, anything, with meaningful content. And her request struck me as a metaphor for life.
What are the things that fill my life with meaning? Do I honor them as such? When I had the Brick, the growth chart at the front of the store provided the fuel I needed to get through an exhausting day—watching the stream of children come through to mark their height and age, checking in every few months to see how much they’d grown. The chart gave each child a connection to the store, and to me, and when it was gone, I actually cried. But all of life is impermanent, and everything, eventually, changes—acceptance of that is meaningful in and of itself.
There’s the belly laugh of a grandchild, tea with a friend who is hurting, spying on one’s partner while he studies his raspberry patch. Chopping and stacking wood is meaningful, as is hunting, gardening, hiking, running.
I’m not promoting the “savor every second” idea; frankly, some seconds, minutes, hours, even days, don’t deserve to be savored. But, our lives are made up of small moments that, taken together, create a hailstorm of meaning. We find those moments in our day-to-day work or with the things we do with money earned from that work. We find meaning in our causes, both local and far-reaching. And we search for it, looking to our deep recesses for the meaning within. To search for, and find, meaning is a distinctly human endeavor; it can consume, uplift, destroy.
And so, readers, what is it that fills your life with meaningful content? I recognize what’s meaningful today might not be such tomorrow, and that’s okay. I want to explore this with you, I want us to explore it together. Whenever Melissa gives me space, we’ll wander down the path of the big and small, the quiet (and sometimes not so quiet) ways you move through your world creating, absorbing and experiencing meaning. Maybe meaning is eluding you, and you are struggling to find it. I want to hear about that as well.
In the words of Mary Oliver, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
You can send me a text, write me an email, give me a call or send it snail mail. You can tell me your name or you can be anonymous. But I need to hear from you. Give me the what and, if you can, the why, because ultimately, it’s the why that is the most important part.
You can reach me via email, by phone at (802) 999-1024 or at 3421 Lake Road, Charlotte, VT 05445