The MeaningS of Life

This past Shabbat I spent the weekend on a retreat with high school students delving into the possible meanings of life. Is it community? personal talent? prayer? wisdom? Friends? Education? How do we make our lives meaningful? What is the sign of a meaningful life?
At the same time, I have been listening to my father’s Eulogy. What did I say about him, who was he, how will he be remembered? What did our rabbi say about him, how was he perceived outside the family? What was the meaning of his life? And then, there is that moment of worry, what is the meaning of my life, how will I be remembered? How do I want to be remembered?
7 months have gone by since I first heard my dad’s eulogy, since I first thought about how to remember him, how I wanted to share his life with those who came to the funeral, how I wanted to share this incredible bond I have with him in the collective memory of my community. Each time I listen to his funeral service, I am proud and sad. Sad that he is lost in our world, that the work he was doing will never be completed, sad that his beautiful smile and loving soul will only live on through memory, not physicality. And at the same time, I am proud, proud of who he was, proud to call him my father, proud of how I memorialized him, proud of all that he did in the world. Is this how he wanted to be remembered? I don’t know. Is this who he thought he was? I dont’ know. But he was an incredible man, an inspiration to so many.
So, what is the purpose, meaning, business of life? I don’t have the answer. Maybe it’s doing the work that was done before us and continuing it throughout generations. our work is never done. Maybe it’s finding that community that will overwhelmingly come out to support you in a time of need, to hear what your life is all about. Maybe life is about making meaningful connections, to people, to a higher being, to the world. Life is about living, however and whatever that means for each individual.

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