This morning I read an article by a Benedictine Monk, Brother David Steindl-Rast. Some of the things he said stayed with me. Maybe because I'm feeling washed out by this bug....but it made me reflect on my new life situation.....although I think about that all the time anyway.
"Death is an event that puts the whole meaning of life into question......we are occupied with purposeful activities....and then along comes death and confronts us with the fact that purpose is not enough. We live by meaning.
We tend to equate purpose with meaning and when purpose is taken away we stand there without meaning.
The challenge is when all-purpose comes to an end can there still be meaning?
With purpose we must be active, in control, 'stay on top of things'.....use our circumstances like tools to serve our aims.
But matters are different when we deal with meaning.
Here is is not a matter of using but of savouring the world around us. We are more passive, as in ...'it moved me deeply'.
Our goal is to let meaning flow into our purposeful activities....by fusing activity and passivity into genuine responsiveness.
Death puts our responsiveness to the ultimate test."
Looking after Robin for the last 6 years became my purpose in life. I stopped thinking about the meaning of it all. No time or attention for that question.
I found something a long time ago that always helped me when the 'What's the meaning of life?' question arose.
Something the Dali Llama said about our reason to be here "is to be happy and to help other people be happy along the way if we can". Not that I apply it to myself very often.
I feel bereft and purpose -less now. And being happy, except briefly, seems unlikely.
But this morning, when I came back from Wairtose with bags of shopping, because I felt a bit dizzy and tired - it was probably too soon to go out after the bug - I sat a while at the table and watched the rain falling on the garden.
And I noticed I was smiling as I followed the antics of the birds, all so different, flying in and out of the trees - so busy, so chatty. So purposeful. Not asking the point of their lives. But giving me so much pleasure as I savoured them....the quick darting joy of them.
Which is enough meaning for me today.....at least on this last Tuesday in January.