“The sun does not forget a village just because it is small.” – Ghanaian proverb
As we round up the last few days of the year, the frenzy about making new plans for the coming year has set in. As usual, it is all about creating better lives for ourselves. And as always this is all good, except it is about time we realised better lives do not consist of our usual lies and tricks and instead convey facts and truths. Make our humanity more meaningful is pillared on truth, goodness and beauty. Given that many among us really have wants, we need to examine the form and content of the present – especially the metaphors behind the many things we take for granted; our songs and jokes as examples. It is time we recognised that our unethical behaviour, not our weaknesses, creates difficulties for others – who in their bid to overcome them develop attitudes which negatively affect us too.
Meaning is the fragrance and blossom of all our endeavours. A better life is a meaningful one, and those who live it know they need to make sacrifice upon sacrifice instead of short-circuiting the road. It is the quest for meaning that inspires us to develop profound insights about everyday moments, leading to the unearthing of energies within ourselves to improve upon who we are until we emerge better, more humane, and much more real than the trends floating round us. That is why the hurdles, rather than the flattened paths, grant us the most intimate and interesting moments of life.
We cannot truly be ourselves without an awareness of the meaning surrounding us. Living is not a concept waiting for us at the end of the road. Rather, it is the art of being awake to the world around us, unafraid to experiment and impact everyone and everything with the highest sense of creativity and ethicality. It is similar to what Alice James wrote in her diary in the middle of June in 1889: “I went out today, and behaved like a lunatic, sobbed…over a farmhouse, a meadow, some trees and cawing rooks. Nurse says that there are some people downstairs who drive everywhere and admire nothing. How grateful I am that I actually do see, to my own consciousness, the quarter of an inch that my eyes fall upon; truly, the subject is all that counts!”
Whatever it is that we want to do in the coming year and the years that will follow, our lives will be better if we focus on appreciating whatever cards have been dealt to us and finding their meaning. It is in meaning that we will find the lives we are meant to live, and subsequently enrich the innermost truth of our beings for a meaningful life. We need to understand that life happens in many forms and variations.
We may be pursuing different aspirations and going through different challenges, but the reality is that we are all living life. We live it as it offers itself to us. Our headache is to make sure we make the best possible impression on it, so that it will always remember us wherever we go from here onward. This insight should propel us to bolster the little faith within us to stand firm and tall, and brace ourselves for the wonders life pours on us along the way.
Meaning, when it comes, is beyond anything we expect it to be. It is so engaging it fills us to the brim with fullness. And yet it does not mesmerise us about ourselves, but energises us to consciously choose to consecrate rather than desecrate; to smile, instead of pulling a face; to help others with what we have, relative to waiting to be helped in our helplessness. It challenges us to appreciate the efforts of others whether they are beginners or in their prime, as well as those who are privileged to be accomplished. It is like the first rays of the sun on a new day, bringing forth new life. And we are to rejoice because of this new life, and contribute to its unfolding in a manner that will mesmerise posterity.
The ‘better life’ we desire involves more than writing new resolutions when the New Year begins. It needs to be stewed with perseverance. We must bear witness to the truth, goodness and beauty we proclaim, so that others can embrace our light. If not us, then who else? In the coming year, let us be guided by this beautiful poem whose author is unknown.
“This is a little story about four people named Everybody,
Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.
There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.
Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.
Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job.
Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realised that Everybody wouldn’t do it.
It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.”
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