“One has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when one plants trees under which one knows full well he or she will never sit.” ~ David Elton Trueblood …
What do I do in my life that goes on to benefit others? In what ways do I give of my time, talent, abilities, and possessions–including those intrinsic ones such as love, compassion, faith, and so on–without expecting anything in return? Our ability to answer these questions directly correlates with our understanding of the meaning of human life–the deeper and more fully we can relate to our ability to give without expecting things such as thanks, rewards, recognition, or gratification, the deeper our understanding of life becomes.
It is a simple and beautiful thought: if I plant a tree for someone else, I create a healthier and more beautiful environment–providing shade, shelter, and perhaps even fruit–for future generations down the road. It will take a few decades for it to mature, and I most likely will not be around to witness the enjoyment it may bring to another human being, yet that really should not matter to me at all.
There is an additional narrative here as well: if giving is “a start on discovering the meaning of human life,” then perhaps giving is the root of the meaning of life. And why not? After all, unconditional giving can only come about in the presence of unconditional love and respect for our fellow man. Therefore, in giving without conditions, we are also giving with authentic and selfless love.
We have the ability to give in big and small ways each day of our lives. In the compliments and encouragement we share, in the helping hands we offer, in the smiles and the positive seeds we plant that–although we may never see grow into trees and flowers–will someday positively affect the lives of others in a real and wonderful way.
Plant positive seeds in the lives of others.
Questions to consider:
Could it possibly be that giving IS the meaning of life?
Why is it difficult for many individuals to give unconditionally?
What are some ways in which you have given but did not see the result of your gift?
For further thought:
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” ~ Pablo Picasso