“Who will tell whether one happy moment of love, or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort that life implies? Life is a unique gift and challenge, not to be measured in terms of anything else.” ~ Erich Fromm, The Sane Society …
There will, of course, be moments in our lives in which we experience sadness and grief, pain and suffering, loneliness and heartbreak, and trials and adversity. Could it be, however, that all of these sufferings are made worth it by the wonderful moments we experience in which everything is perfect, when we feel the passion and the joy of life, the elation from the beauty of the sunrise or sunset, the love we feel for our soul mate, a sibling, a child, or a friend? When I really think about it, much of my life is made up of my working towards such moments–moments where I feel a part of the world around me, a kinship to nature and my fellow man, a joy that may not last long, but that stays with me forever in my heart.
Such moments are what compose a life lived to the fullest. When we help a troubled child to turn away from a negative path they are on, or help a friend who is struggling with addiction to start down the road to recovery. Or when we comfort someone who is grieving from a loss, showing genuine concern and compassion and sharing in their pain. It is in these moments that we come to understand that all the time, effort, and difficulty we faced in helping them was truly worth it. We all have memories of certain wonderful moments we have shared with those we love. And although at times we may feel upset by words that were spoken or actions that were taken by those individuals, the trials and problems we go through with them often serve to define the depth of our love for one another and deepen our relationships in the end.
And for some of us, perhaps we do not feel that we have found anything worthwhile just yet. During certain chapters in our lives, the suffering and efforts required by us sometimes seem to far outweigh the rewarding moments, and we, therefore, do not feel that it is at all possible for us to make everything else worthwhile. But what if they do, and we just do not notice it? Then we would be missing what life is about–the positive sides of our experiences here on this planet.
Our lives have tremendous purpose, meaning, and value–worth that cannot be measured simply in terms of happiness and suffering. Yet consider the possibility that these small moments–these wonderful, seemingly unimportant moments–may be exactly what we are working towards in our lives.
Take comfort in your daily efforts and sufferings, knowing that they may lead to great moments of joy.
Questions to consider:
How do we come to think that only the big things are really important to us?
Why do we feel that there has to be more than “walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air?”
What does it mean to you for something to be “worth it?”
For further thought:
“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.” ~ Frederick Buechner, Listening to Your Life