When You Savor Life, You Are Rich

An urgency to live well grows in us when we see our parents growing old.

Or at least that’s what happened to me yesterday. 

“It felt like a few days ago when we took these pictures,” my mom said to my son as she showed him an album of Polaroid pictures of me when I was a one year old. Disbelief marked his eyes as she flipped through the images of me with chubby cheeks captured on instant film framed on the iconic white borders over four decades ago. 

Disbelief struck me too. It’s cliche to say that time moves so quickly. But when you are standing with your child socially distanced from your seventy-something year old mother looking at baby pictures of you learning to walk, with her saying it felt like a few days ago, it’s not cliche at all. It’s real

It’s a reality that slaps you in your face and kicks in the heart, urging you to live. You feel rushed to cram as much as you can in the years, months, days, because you sense the ticking of time somewhere out there, somewhere in you, flitting away. 

But, for me, making the most of life isn’t so much about doing more or going to exotic destinations or achieving incredible milestones, as much as I do appreciate travel and creating big experiences.

It’s more about savoring the little moments. The bite-sized love packets of the seemingly ordinary, like I was having with my son and mom looking at pictures of me drooling on myself, or having a nice meal at home laughing with my wife and kids, or sharing ideas and stories with friends.

When you can drink those in, that’s when you can really start living. Those are the times of connection that flow with fresh meaning. And by drinking them in, you’ll taste the goodness of life anew, like tasting fine wine for the first time as the flavors dance on your palate like little fairies having a party.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget those “smaller” events when we’re trying to check off our bucket-list. But when we are, let’s not forget the “normal” instances that truly make up the stuff of life. It’s less about the thrill and more about feeling intimacy, closeness in those meaningful everyday interactions that hold monumental significance.

In life, less is often so much more.

Savoring the daily joys fills the cups of our hearts to the brim and makes them overflow. 

It’s an abundance and flourishing that anyone can have. 

It’s here. Take it—every day. Enjoy.

You’ll be rich.


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Finding meaning when everything feels meaningless

Sometimes life feels…well—empty—devoid of purpose. It’s easy to feel like a hamster running on a stupid wheel. But that’s wrong.

Life’s not purposeless. And you’re not a hamster.

But I know the feeling of waking up and wondering why you’re even bothering. Why even open your eyes, get out of bed, get ready to go to work, eat, see a friend or two, then do it all over again? I’ve been there.

But, again, you’re not a hamster.

The very fact that you want meaning means something.

You see, desires have an object for that which is desired. If I’m hungry there’s food. If I’m thirsty there’s water. If I’m lustful there is sex.

Inherent in our desires is something that fulfills it.

The same is true with meaning.

All of us have a deep desire to know what we do matters. We want to feel it. We’re famished.

I believe that the greatest meaning is found in Jesus, serving and loving him because he loved me unto death to give me life. So I live to delight him, albeit imperfectly, but that’s my purpose.

But, I get that not all of you are there. That may be a far cry from your worldview. That’s fair. So do this.

Search.

Make that your meaning to look for it.

That’s what I did.

Searching isn’t a guarantee you’ll find it, but it’s a start.

Hunger doesn’t equate to eating. But it would be odd if food didn’t exist in a world where our bodies by nature need it as fuel. That would be absurd.

Meaninglessness is absurd.

Sometimes we hunger for it more than a hot meal. Don’t we?

So know this. Your life has meaning. You just haven’t found it yet.

Seek it out. It’s there to be found.

And it’s more satisfying than the most delicious of fare.


Books on meaning

Man’s Search for Meaning (affiliate) by Victor Frankl is one of the most amazing books I read on meaning. He was a holocaust survivor and wrote about how he found meaning in his suffering. I wrote a post on it.

If you’re interested in Jesus and the meaning he provides, check out C.S. Lewis’s book Mere Christianity (affiliate). Lewis breaks down the major tenants of this faith and why he believes them.

Anthony de Mello’s Awareness (affiliate) is also an interesting and eye-opening read. His ideas and the way he conveys them are surprising and fresh. I came across it because it’s one of Tim Ferriss’s top recommended books.

Are you living for the right person?

We all live for people. But are you living for the right person?

Maybe you became a buttoned-up lawyer because your parents “made” you, when you really wanted to be an artist in paint-covered jeans, flicking the perfect strokes like Bob Ross, but it was too “impractical.” Now, you’re miserable. 

Or, maybe you’re feeling frantic because you never say no. Everyone says that you’re so capable and competent, and you don’t want to let anyone down and cause them to think that you’re not as capable as they think you are. So you’re doing everything: PTA, church groups, Boy Scouts, working late, going out with friends. You go. You do. And as a result you’re beyond overcommitted, and, even worse, you’re burning out. 

Or, maybe you have a significant other whom you love, but you find yourself going wherever they go and doing whatever they do. And you have your own ideas, but you aren’t expressing them. You don’t want to cause waves. You don’t want them to stop thinking you’re the perfect person. So you keep going along with them even if it’s not your true self. 

All three examples are of people who make other people their meaning. 

Maybe you can relate? 

Meaning is the deepest root of our lives. It’s planted in our hearts and sprouts up the reason for our existence. And for many of us, what’s rooted in our hearts are people, others, parents, friends, even strangers. 

There’s one major problem with that. 

People are fickle and impossible to please. They change their minds, are emotional, get in funks, are funky. And saddest of all, they die. That makes trying to impute the meaning of our lives into people, even our loving parents, insufficient. People aren’t enough. 

Now, don’t hear what I’m not saying. Parents, friends, others, should influence us. Their well-meaning words should be considered. We should take others’ advice.

But if you make your entire life about pleasing them, you are going to go for a ride you don’t want to go on. Because people are difficult to please—impossible, really—you won’t ever find them fully pleased by what you do. 

I’m also not saying that we should stop doing things to please people. If we do that, we probably wouldn’t keep a job, have friends, grow a marriage, be human. It’s natural to want to please people, good, even. And the reason we try to is found in this idea. 

We all want to be, not only accepted and loved, but favored. 

Many of us may not be familiar with that word, favor, but it’s what we really want, pine for. It’s more than just people saying that you’re good, or that they like you. Sure we want to be loved. But this is different than that, but not any less desired, needed.

You see, we’re dying to be seen. It’s that sense of recognition from your friends, colleagues, parents that you so desperately want, that they are not just looking at you, but see you. And they gush over you. They embrace you physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. You aren’t just loved and accepted; they are proud of you. You are the apple of their eye, their treasure, treasured, esteemed. You are delighted in: Favored. 

But because we seek favor ultimately from people—fickle, inconsistent, and emotionally driven beings—we only get a nibble of what we truly want. It’s a morsel, not the meal; it’s the hors d’oerves, not the main course. It won’t satisfy our appetite because it’s not meant to. Without the entrée, it will frustrate us and leave us hungry. 

The issue that we run into with placing our meaning ultimately into the hands of people is that their hands are not big enough to hold it. 

What we should do is find the right person who can carry it. 

From my experience and learnings, the only person that is capable of carrying our meaning for us is God. 

He is the feast we are looking for. He is the person who can feed us what will truly satisfy. He’s not just the meal but also the dessert. He is ultimately the only person capable of carrying our meaning.

God is faithful, unchanging, consistent, true, good, loving, all-seeing, and all-knowing. He will not die. He is the ultimate person, with greater celebrity than Beyoncé and Jay-Z put together, more powerful than the US President, more royal than the Queen of England, and wealthier than Jeff Bezos. 

And he sees you

And all of the accolades, respect, honor, and fame that we pine for is found in spades in God. He’s the only true wellspring of favor. 

Root yourself in him.

He satisfies.