What is the meaning of life? I have asked myself many times. I know I have my own journey with this question but when I think of my sister who has just had a baby, I think it has become very simple for her.
As soon as she gave birth to her daughter the meaning of life for her came flooding in. It was obvious, ever present, and intensely overwhelming with no doubt in that moment of what her role on this earth was. She was totally and completely needed – this delicate, vulnerable baby needed her full undivided attention and love – and she was there willing and able to dedicate herself to the task before her.
My sister came into her own. Her life up until this point had been tumultuous, uncertain and a relentless cycle of constantly feeling insecure about what the meaning of life was for her. Now there seemed to be no uncertainty, no doubts, no wondering what she was doing with her life. She had been called to task and she couldn’t have felt more meaningful and ready to embrace her new meaning of life.
However, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing. Having a child did give my sister that rush of meaningfulness there is no doubt about it. But it wasn’t as simple as that. It must be a very difficult thing for mothers. On one hand I see mothers experiencing this powerful surge of meaningfulness to take on the blindingly obvious task in front of them. But on the other hand the realities of who they are as a human being, and their internal insecurities, are still there with them – and in time they often come raise their ugly head again.
I don’t have children and I battle enough with my inner demons to last me a lifetime, let alone taking care of a child at the same time. Watching my sister try to manage her own anxieties and insecurities at the same time as trying so valiantly to do her best at this impossible task we call motherhood makes me feel very humble and respectful of what she is trying to do.
What has brought me great comfort and understanding when I think about this issue for parents is the progress of researchers and thinkers who look at deeper issues like this that affect us all so much, but seem to get relatively little attention in the media despite having something to offer that could be very helpful in better understanding situations like I’ve described. If you have the strength to resist yet another re-run of Days of Our Lives and instead use your computer for ‘education’ [gasp!] and do a little searching on the internet, it’s amazing what resources are available out there, even including essays about the meaning of life (and it isn’t chocolate). But seriously, if somehow some reconciliation to these two factions within us all was possible, it would be a welcome thing.
Dianne enjoys writing, a natural lifestyle and occasionally answering the perplexing questions constantly proffered by her beautiful niece. She recently read an essay about the meaning of life which in part inspired this article.