I read a Facebook post the other day that said “The purpose of life is to enjoy every moment.” It was an aesthetically pleasing post with a bright, potted flower and a couple of simple rocks. Simple. Appealing.
But I was disturbed somewhere deep within by this innocent, sweet expression of positivity…
Here’s the thing. We, as a society, are taught that if we are not enjoying every moment, if we are not “looking on the bright side” and our experience is not “nirvana”, then we are doing life wrong. We live in world where we put on our masks to conceal our pain and grasp at whatever makes us feel “happy” and gratified, all the while wondering what is missing and what that niggling unsettledness is deep within our spirit.
My glorious, courageous friend Kelly recently wrote:
“We live in a culture that teaches us to put on a good outward appearance. What happens in that situation is that we compare our ‘inside’ world with other peoples ‘outside’ world where we will often come up lacking”.
The reality is that for each of us, life can be and often is just plain hard. It is grueling, heartbreaking, mind-numbingly tragic and sometimes mundane. Have I failed at life if I haven’t enjoyed every moment? Should I enjoy those moments when I don’t know how I am going to pay my bills? Should I have enjoyed every moment of the seven years of my husband’s cancer and his death? How about the moments of loneliness, betrayal, injustice and victimization? What about those moments when my beauty was marred by someone else’s evil?
I have learned that the purpose of life is to put one foot in front of the other, to face the pain of life with courage and authenticity, to work towards healing from our woundings and bring healing to others. It is to reach out for something bigger than ourselves. And yes, it is also to enjoy the little things in life and revel in the beauty and grace that have been lavished on us…