And be thankful –Colossians 3:15
The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a mighty Savior; He will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in His love. He will sing joyfully because of you, as one sings at festivals –Zephaniah 3:17
Did you ever have a “down day” when you’d rather just curl up under the covers in the morning when you awaken, stay there all day and hope that tomorrow would be better–as you perceive this better to be?
Welcome to the human race. That’s a normal feeling to have sometimes. However, somehow we get ourselves moving and hope for the best. As we enter into a routine day where nothing much changes day-to-day, this becomes more difficult. Purpose and meaning wane especially if we’re retired and we have nothing we have to do. We’re so used to being active and equating this activity with the meaning and purpose of our lives.
There is a significant adjustment in this transition stage of of life and all transitions indicate that a major loss has taken place: of family, residence, job, a death of a loved one, etc. This important loss often triggers this feeling of no meaning and purpose in life any more.
Yet, this isn’t the end. Just because we feel this way, doesn’t mean we have no meaning or purpose; it only means that we need to create a new meaning and purpose for our lives. This takes grace and prayer. Here’s where Christ can show us that way from His down-to-earth human experience.
Each of us has something valuable to offer to the world where we live. We simply have to discover this talent in a new way at this time of life. This will give us renewed purpose and meaning to get out of bed each morning.
Meister Johann Eckhart, the theologian of the Middle Ages, found this as he kept reflecting on his friendship with Christ and came to express this in his new-found focus in life. He believed that if the only prayer he’d ever pray would be “thank you,” that would be enough. Each day became for him a fresh way to live this reality. As he made this his meaning and purpose in life, he began to share this prayer with others to help them do the same.
Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk, still living, teaches that to really live a spiritual life of inner peace and love, one must live “mindfully.” For him, this creates meaning and purpose. His life took on this grateful aura as he became mindful of all God’s gifts to him in spite of all the wars and hatred going on around him. He taught that when walking, walk; when sitting, sit; when resting, rest; when washing, wash; when eating, eat; when visiting with friends, visit; when praying, pray.
St. Paul, Zephaniah, Eckhart, and Hanh can help us to create and live with renewed purpose and meaning each new day, even when we feel out of sync. Christ had days like this, too. We know He must have had them because Scripture tells us many times when He would go to a place apart to pray. We often limit this to what we think to pray means. Essentially, this phrase does not mean to say words, though we as humans use words to express ourselves even to God. It does not mean, either, that we necessarily say formal prayers or even read Scripture. In its essence, it means that we become aware (mindful) of God’s Presence always with, in, and around us and reflect on this reality through, with, and in Christ–at the Spirit’s touch.
As we follow their advice, we create a reason to get moving each morning, and then we try to figure out ways to express ourselves with our talents and our love creatively as we enter into each new day. As Christians, we can make this simple, but challenging. We can determine that in the years and energy we have left to us, we can try to learn even more about Christ so as to enter into a deeper friendship with Him, and then let others benefit from this thoughtful reflection–even if only through our smile. Christ came to live as a human person; all we need to do is to be more mindful that He is with us in all we do, to live a thank you, and remember the words of Zehpaniah that God, in his Son, rejoices over us and sings joyfully because of us. What a great reason to get out of bed each morning. What teriffic meaning. What glorious purpose to our lives!
Think about this. At this time of life, right where you are, how can you create a fresh meaning and purpose to your life?