Everything Matters. And So Does Nothing At All.
Last night, Tyler and I had a date night at Target.
We walked close to every aisle, looking at games and books and cleaning supplies (I finally accomplished my life goal of owning a Swiffer duster). We hula hooped up and down the kid’s aisle, tried to see how high the bouncy balls could bounce, bought new yoga mats and face masks. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much getting my errands done, and by the time we left it had been over two hours since we arrived. On our drive home, the car stuffed to the brim with bags of things we didn’t know we needed, God graced us with this summer’s most beautiful sunset so far.
Sometimes all it takes is a trip to Target to remember that life wasn’t made for us to take so seriously.
I’ve been struggling a lot recently with figuring out what my life is supposed to mean. Am I here just for my family and friends? Am I here to make a difference in one person’s life, or am I here to make a splash on a bigger crowd? Will I find my purpose in motherhood, in a job, or in seeking God daily? What does purpose even really mean, and should I be looking for one at all?
I know that there have been times in my life where I’ve felt fulfilled, and there have been times in my life where I’m actively seeking fulfillment. There have also been times where I’m just living, day by day, trying to make the most of the times I spend with myself and with the people I love.
Do the workouts matter? Do the hours I spend on social media matter? Do the dinners matter? Do the prayers matter?
I come to the same conclusion.
Everything matters, and at the same time, so does nothing at all.
I find myself reading books and blogs written by people living with terminal illnesses. It started with When Breath Becomes Air, then it was the cancer blogs, then it was watching “The Bucket List”—it’s turned into an addiction for me.
I can’t imagine what these people are going through, and yet I imagine it all the time. If I were in their position, what would I want to do? What would I be making peace with in my life, or would I be trying to make peace at all? Would anger cloud my spirit? Would I spend my time wondering why it had to be me?
It could be anyone. These things happen every day—freak accidents, diagnoses, the person you count on the most walking out on you. Life flips in moments. Everything we think we know flies out the window. We know nothing, except how to keep on going. That’s what I’m learning from my addiction to the stories of the dying—even through the sadness, the pain, the topsy turvy feeling when everything disappears at once, we just keep on going until we make it to the end.
Maybe, as humans, we’re just here to walk with others through the journey. Through the long stretches of sameness and the sudden life flips. Maybe we’re not meant to take them so seriously, knowing that they will inevitably come. We can laugh our way through shopping trips, take some of the burden away from those carrying the heaviest loads.
I don’t want to look back on my life and wonder why I spent so much of it being afraid, or stressed out, or uncertain. I want to look back and think about how much time I spent laughing. How much I enjoyed being alive. How much I loved the people in my circle, and how I think I did all my best to make sure that they loved their lives too.
There are two common threads among every human life: We are alive, and then we die. Everything matters, and at the same time, so does nothing at all.
That’s how we are free.