Friday, January 26, 2007

Life Lesson: What Makes Life Worth Living

"It is not enough to live; you have to have something to live for."
- Commander Adama, Battlestar Galactica (television program) (2003)

Life is not reflected well in science fiction television programs. Yet they often show excellent examples of human aspirations, foibles and life lessons.

In this case, the life lesson is about having something worth living for. But, what?

Many people fail to find what they want out of life. They die still wondering what they could have done to find it.

The problem is that they had been looking for something that would come to them, something that would enhance their lives, something they could acquire that would make their life complete. That never satisfies the desire to find what life is worth lviing for because we humans can never find enough to satiate our desires. We are, by nature, greedy.

By deduction, what makes life worth living must be outside of us. What makes life worth living is not what we can get, but what we can give.

Being greedy, many people never learn that lesson. The laws of economics say that you can't get more by giving away what you have.

But the laws of economics suck. They have destroyed more lives than wars have. According to economics, the only things worth having are what comes in to us, what we can acquire. Because of our greedy natures, if we style our lives around what comes in to us, we will never be satisfied and feel that our lives have been worth living.

Those people who give the most of themselves to help others know what fulfillment is.That's not just feeding the hungry, healing the sick, giving money to the poor or sending blankets to Kosovo. It's helping anyone who needs help with anything.

People are often free about telling others their problems, whether the others want to hear them or not. Sometimes we can offer to help them. Anyone standing by a vehicle at the side of the road needs help, or at least some company, maybe a sandwich or coffee.

Sometimes helping someone else means nothing more than helping them to cry, to grieve, to let out the emotion that is eating them from the inside. Sometimes all we have to do is to listen.

If you want to know what makes life worth living, help someone. Do it more than once because the first time you may not recognize within you the feeling of having done something good and right. The more often you do it, the more it will seem the natural thing to do.

The laws of economics may be natural, but so are tsunamis and earthquakes. If it really matters to you to understand what makes life wonderful, give of yourself to help others.

Until and unless you have tried it, you won't understand. I don't understand economics, tsunamis or earthquakes. You can teach me once you have learned the lesson I have to teach.

Bill Allin
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems, striving to show you how to make it all worthwhile.
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