It was Joseph Campbell who wrote that life itself has no meaning. Each of us has meaning, and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question – does life have meaning? – when we are the answer.
I am at an age when many of the people I know are busily downsizing, shrinking their lives, saying goodbye to their ambitions, surrendering their dreams.
Yet here I am, as always, something of a freak in this regard. My life is expanding, all of the time.
For the past several years, I have had the very strange feeling that my life is really just beginning. There is Maria and my love for her and life with her, there is my blog, ascending and expanding, my photography, deepening and challenging, the wonderful new Army of Good marching with me to a better place.
While so many people I know are in despair at the disheartening cruelty and failures of our political system, it has, quite ironically, been nothing but a gift to me, a statement shocking even to me as I make it. My life is filling up, not emptying, it is expanding almost every day, not shrinking.
The last few months have helped me understand who I am and who I wish to be.
I am not downsizing my life, I am just beginning to understand Campbell's idea, that the meaning of our lives is what we bring to our lives. I have found the refugee children, and they have found me, and we are giving meaning to each other. I have found the Mansion residents and they have found me. We have brought meaning to one another's lives. I have found the Army of Good and they have found me, and we are forging a path that is positive and affirming, even in the midst of hatred and argument.
My work with Red has evolved in very powerful ways. We have moved beyond strolling down hallways and being petted and smiled at, we have touched lives and brought light into them in personal and penetrating ways. My marriage to Maria only grows and deepens, we are marching through life hand-in-hand, supporting one another, loving each other, cheering each other on.
We have the small conflicts and misunderstandings that mark any deep relationship, but our trust and commitment to one another is unshakeable, and for the first time in my whole, I wholly trust another person with my full heart and soul. It is a glorious – and meaningful – experience. Two broken souls, we have watched one another put ourselves back to together, piece by piece, and work every day at living our lives fully and with purpose.
We are on the path.
And this week, another expansion of our lives – Gus, an eight week old Boston Terrier puppy is coming to live with us. In the larger sense, getting a puppy is not that big of deal, millions of people do it every year without too much fuss and fanfare. In my life, this has come to have a special meaning, it is a powerful example of Campbell's idea of what meaning we bring to life.
My dogs have changed my life and work and heart. They have challenged me to be a better human, they have opened me up to love and life, they have forced me to understand myself as I see myself reflected in them for good and bad. Lenore kept love alive for me, Orson pulled me out of an unhappy life, Frieda helped bring me together with Maria, Red has enriched my heart and soul and led me to the idea of doing good.
I don't know if Gus is a spirit dog, or what his impact will be on my life. I know one can't predict that, life reveals itself. One woman worried on Facebook that I might be putting too much pressure on Gus, but the challenge is for me to not put too much pressure on myself. Dogs take care of themselves much better than I take care of myself.
I am eager to see what Gus has come to show me and teach me.
Grandma Moses echoed Campbell's beautiful thoughts on life and meaning. Life is what you make of it, at any age. The meaning of life is not about how old you are, or how careful and secure you might wish to be. Each of us has meaning, and we bring it to life.
We have everything we need for Gus, the love and patience will come Friday and beyond. My life is filling up, sometimes it frightens me, I wonder of it is more than I can handle well? But that is a waste of time, also, why ask such a question when I am the answer?