The 972 residents of New York Mills, Minn. were asked to ponder the question: "Does life have meaning and, if so, what is it?"
Four finalists were chosen from the 650 people who submitted 750 word essays on the question. They were to have held a public debate on the topic this past Saturday. The audience was to select the winner.
Last year's question was on the nature of good and evil. The audience couldn't agree on a winner, so a tie was declared.
The editorial writer admitted the difficulty of the question and then told a story of a gathering of friends for dinner in a North Carolina restaurant. The 3 year old daughter of one couple had just recently discovered the magic of language and had become a real jabber jaws. In an attempt to quiet her, her mother turned to her and asked: "Lily, what is the meaning of life.?"
"Something to do," she replied.
The editorial writer commented, "Not bad." I agree.
If I were going to take my own stab at the question, my answer would have something to do with relationships. Life alone would not be life (I think in fact it would be hell). What gives meaning to life is that it is shared with others. I think a clue to this being the real meaning of life is the biblical statement: "God is love." At the heart of the nature of God, and thus of all of existence, is love which requires beings in relationship.
Paul wrote: "For to me life is Christ..." (Philippians 1:21). That which gave his life ultimate meaning was his relationship with Christ (not a bad definition of a Christian).
Life---something to do? Yes, but even more importantly, someone to love.
© C. David Hess