Sunday, August 3, 2014

Life Well Lived

Today, we celebrated the life of my father in law, who passed away recently. There were stories and songs, pictures and dances, and a group of people brought together for the endeavor. As I listened, I was struck by how many lives he had touched, and in how many different ways. And I was struck by how I heard over and over that he had said in life that this was what he wanted after he was gone--to have people come together to laugh and eat. So, largely because of him, I was part of a family reunion of sorts. It was happy and sad and overwhelming. For me, it was both closure and re-opening of the loss. Yet, in the end, I came away with a picture of a life well lived.

Ever since college, I have struggled with the idea that I should be trying to do work that helped the world in some way. While you certainly wouldn't think of soap opera production as helping the world, there were times when we told a story that might help someone somewhere. In the end, it was a job, and I accepted it as such, as I have so many of the jobs I have done. I am not qualified to cure poverty or cancer. I am not equipped to do most of the things that will help the world. But I was reminded today that a life well lived is sometimes less about the big effects you create than about the series of small ones you are a part of. Have you helped bring people together or taught children a bit of what you know? Have you allowed people into your life or fought hard enough for an idea that it lasts? Have you given a hug when it was needed, advice when you could, or space when that was all you had to give?

As I find my way through jobs and parenthood and life in general, I would like to think that I will have put together a life well lived. Perhaps it's hard to know when you're in the middle of it all. But perhaps being a part of song and dance and family and celebration is a pretty good start.

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