If logic tells us that life is a meaningless accident,
says Ecclesiastes at the end of his journey, don't give
up on life. Give up on logic. Listen to that voice
inside you which prompted you to ask the question in
the first place. If logic tells you that in the long
run, nothings makes a difference because we all die
and disappear, then don't live in the long run. Instead
of brooding over the fact that nothing lasts, accept that
as one of the truths of life, and learn to find meaning
and purpose in the transitory, in the joys that fade.
Learn to savor the moment, even if it does not last forever.
Moments of our lives can be eternal without being everlasting.
Can you stop and close your eyes and remember something
that happened for only a moment or two many years ago? It may
have been the view of spectacular landscape, or a conversation
that made you feel loved and appreciated. In a sense it did
not last very long at all, but in another sense it has lasted
all those years and is still going on.
When we stop searching for the Great Answer, the Immortal Deed
which will give our lives ongoing meaning, and instead
concentrate on filling our individual days with moments that
gratify us, then we will find the only possible answer to the
question, 'What is life about?' It is not about writing great
books, amassing great wealth, achieving great power. It is about
loving and being loved. It is about enjoying your food and
sitting in the sun rather than rushing through lunch and hurrying
back to the office. It is about savoring the beauty of the moments
that don't last, the sunsets, the leaves turning color, the rare
moments of true human connection. It is about savoring them rather
than missing out on them because we are too busy and they will
not hold still until we get around to them.
The author of
Ecclesiastes spent most of his life looking for the Grand Solution,
the Big Answer to the Big Question, only to learn after wasting
many years that trying to find one Big Answer to the problem of
living is like trying to eat one Big Meal so that you will never have
to worry about being hungry again. [...] When we come to that stage
when we are less able to accomplish and more able to enjoy, we will
have attained the wisdom that Ecclesiastes finally found.
-- Harold Kushner