What Makes Life Matter?

I am sure by now all of you, like me, are weary of hearing Black Lives Matter, and all the rhetoric associated with the phrase. It isn’t really being used as an introduction to a productive and honest conversation, or even as a true call to arms to change injustice. I am not, and I will emphasize that for commenters, am not wanting to discuss the worthiness of the cause and all the associated protests, and violence. We can leave that for other posts.

Because this has been at the forefront of our minds the last months, no matter which side of the issue you take, I have been giving a lot of thought to what makes life matter. You can throw out a phrase the media seizes or glorifies without really having any true understanding of it. That is inconsequential to the truth, and only the mentally lazy or immature accept it at face value.

For this thing we sum up as life, a big word indeed, what does give it meaning? What really matters? I’m sure since the beginning of human ability to discuss and record ideas no consensus has ever been found, but, at least in Western society as I know it, until recently, it appears to me that people, families, cultures, governments, philosophers, historians, educators and theologians shared some ideas.

What are they? Unique to each person, we can never speak authoritatively for all, and I do not seek to do that here. I would just, with your assistance, examine some of the more common motivations that I became familiar with through my childhood, born in the late fifties, and adult years, and feedback from friends, family, and ideas from my reading and studies.

It seems to me that every generation bore the burden of living up to unspoken standards, perhaps innocently as a toddler, and maybe even unwillingly as the child grew and became a teenager, in certain instances. No individual came away unswayed by those parental and societal expectations, not even the great and small rebels who defined their rebellion against those very expectations, be they bath and bedtime, curfew, length of hair or hemline, or denial of civil rights or religious freedom.

From earliest human history, people had to work to provide their safety, sustenance, and hope for another tomorrow. Only relatively recently in our existence have we had the luxury of leisure and reflection.

I know that life for my grandparents was all about work, survival, and that included surviving the Great Depression and all that entailed. Gardening especially, farming in Kansas during Dust Bowl years for my dad’s family. Re-using, repairing, making do, sacrificing for the whole family, and especially for the sick, the young, the old.

Throughout our American history, immigrants arrived on our shores with their own expectations and goals and desires. They brought into our melting pot cultural richness and beliefs that added to who and what we are, added by their work, sacrifice, hunger for success and life for the generations they gave birth to. But they also, upon arrival and integration into American life and society accepted the expectations of previous generations of Americans and determined to live up to those expectations, those standards, and stand alongside their American brethren to contribute not only daily bread to their hungry children, but to the building and protection and success of this great country that they gave everything for.

Immigrants did not leave their homes and families behind, almost everyone of them knowing they would never see father, mother, brothers and sisters again, to come to America and stand idle, to wait in a bread line, to huddle in hovels and listen to the powerful tell them how to live and what to think.  They came with dreams yes, but equal measures of determination, grit, work ethic, and hope. They came to build, and build they damn well did.

When I was a child our parents, and every teacher I ever had, painted pictures in our daily lives, in our minds, by words and deeds, of those who came before and built. In kindergarten we learned the story of the Pilgrims and Indians and the struggle to establish a home in the wilderness. Later in school we celebrated Thanksgiving through plays and the fictional words of Patricia Mullins “Why don’t you speak for yourself, John?”

In very early years we knew how America was settled, we knew of the building of the Colonies, the great Revolutionary War, the establishing of the United States of America under our Constitution. Later we learned more, the fleshing out of the great statesman and their long days writing that Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and every single one of us had a picture of George Washington leading his troops across the Delaware River, but also leading his fledgling country as it began a legendary march into history and world power.

Subsequently we learned about American expansion across the Continent, we learned about the Louisiana Purchase, we learned about the rise of industrialism, slavery, the abolitionist movement, the compromises and Congressional battles prior to the firing on Fort Sumter. Here in the South most of us learned about Reconstruction from old family members and friends. We learned about the World Wars, especially WWII.

Because we knew about the Spanish Flu, the Great Depression, we learned that people survive great pandemics and economic crashes. We knew about victory gardens, war shortages, rationing, and such obscure things as women painting a line down their legs to simulate stockings because they had none. Every family had an aunt or mother who learned to weld or rivet during the war.

We learned about heroes and heroines. We learned about heritage and pride. We learned patriotism. I was taught the states and their capitals by an old black man who worked for my father, along with a lot of other special things, both academic and practical, and I remember the dignity, confidence and pride this friend of mine had when he taught me, though he was impoverished and caught in alcoholism. This was a time when he was denied basic rights and privileges that I, unknowingly at that time, had merely by virtue of my birth.

I learned that he expected me to come to him after test day and report my good grades, measuring not only the knowledge he imparted to me, but my valuing of that teaching and time invested, and I learned that his expectations were very high. All this he did voluntarily, imparting knowledge he had gained to me just because that is what people did, across race, culture, societal and economic status.

Let’s narrow this in some, and individualize it. When I graduated high school, I went into the world expecting that there was some thing I had to contribute, some actions and work and effort that I should put forth, primarily for my own success, but also because I wanted, like every other graduate in my class, to make my mark, to measure up. But we all had an unspoken idea that we owed the world we lived in our best.

I graduated in 1976. We were caught up in a year long celebration of 200 years of American history, excellence, and potential. In that time, not only for us young adults, but also for the country, there was an air of pride and patriotism, and absolute belief that we had greatness ahead. As valedictorian, I still remember the closing line I wrote for my speech.

“We now have the key to our future. We must find the lock it opens.” At this point, I am told, my future father in law gave me applause. You better believe that ranks in my list of things that matter. He was one tough man, not given to praise.

Later when I married, we each had a firm idea of what we wanted and what we had to offer, as well as what it would take to make life happen for us. First and foremost, perhaps even more than love, that idea for both of us involved work. My husband knew absolutely what hard work was already, and he immediately and everlastingly (still going like the Energizer Bunny!) set out to make a future for us. I wanted more than anything to build a wonderful home for us, to learn to cook, especially his favorite biscuits and gravy, and to help work and provide security for the coming children.

We wanted to be able to provide our own home for our family, give them security, teach them about life, work, home, family, and yes, all those things I listed above, the richness of our American heritage and experience. We wanted to prepare them for an indifferent and often hostile world, to give them confidence, strength, determination, hope in the face of trials, and belief, both in themselves, and in our family.

If there was anything we took for granted back then, it was perhaps the freedom we had to practice our Christian faith, to have a church building, a parish family, priests and nuns and parish schools, and all the richness and splendor and fruits of living in a land where you can worship God and try to pass on your faith to your children, all without persecution or punishment. In those busy days, we gave little thought to not only the American history we knew insuring our right to worship, but the poor workers who make our beautiful old church building possible, the priest who is now a candidate for sainthood because he gave his life in a Yellow Fever epidemic, staying in town to care for the sick and dying.

We wanted to build a good life for each other, we wanted a great future for our family, our sons. We didn’t just have an idea in our heads for how life should be, not for ourselves, and not for our sons. We wanted to teach them all they needed to know to make the best of their lives, to be able to go out into the world and make a good life for themselves, yes, but more still. We wanted to teach them about adversity, strength, endurance, getting up when life knocks you down. We wanted to teach them to do things for themselves, and that they could do hard things.

We wanted to teach them the value of hard work, and my husband especially was determined that no son of his would be anything less than the hardest, toughest, longest enduring man standing when the chips fell. We wanted them to see the value of their contributions, to our family, and to our common experience as Americans.

Our sons knew what it was to work from a very young age, and just as my husband and his siblings had done, they contributed to our family’s well being. As teens they helped pay their school tuition, they always paid for their own gas and insurance, and even sometimes bought their own clothes, especially if they wanted nicer things than mom was willing to spring for. Yes, shout out to you, number two son.

They learned the cost of failure, of lack of effort, and of mistakes. They learned that actions have consequences, and they learned that their parents would not bail them out of troubles, large and small. They learned to make recompense when their actions cost others. Looking at you, number one son and the spray painting of the barn episode.

They learned that mindless destruction and irresponsibility had repercussions, number three son and the screwdriver episode, and that privileges were not to be taken for granted.

As a proud, very proud, mother and grandmother now, I can say they learned all those things well and taught us others. They are finer men than we dreamed of, and life will never mow them down. They are wonderful husbands, fathers, and each in his own wonderful and unique way adds value to our world. They are patriots all. They have brought very special and resolute women into our family, and we have eight wonderful grandchildren who represent the hope and the future of our family.

To help me gather thoughts for this post, and because I value their opinions most, we had a conversation this week about what makes life matter.

Every one of them ranked family at the top of the list. One daughter in law is in school, and that ranks high on the list of things that matter. Another daughter in law, established in her field, still seeks further personal purpose and feels the quest continues, a sentiment that I share, although she sure words it better. A sense of humor, so necessary in our family, which is perhaps why my daughter in law named it.

My youngest son just finished school a year ago, all while working and raising three kids. He wants a better life for his wife and family, but he also wants the things he does to make his family, especially his wife and kids, proud of him, as well as us, his parents. And by us, he mostly means dad, because that’s a healthy desire in a young man, just as my husband was satisfied that he was able to please his father and make him proud.

My middle son separates his motivations into professional and personal. Professionally he is driven to succeed not only for personal satisfaction ( I can say from experience he was driven from birth toward excellence) but also for the sake of building a team and doing his best for them and his company. Personally, he wants his kids to see and experience the limitless possibilities life offers, and to understand that sacrifices must be made to win those things. He wants them to be confident in the security and love of their family, as do all of the sons and daughters in law. He wants them to be aware that their lives and potential are tied to the sacrifices of generations of family before them.

My oldest son experienced personal loss this year in a big way, a huge and heartbreaking struggle this year has been for him, again, personally and professionally. As far as bad things happening, big and small, 2020 has been a year of hits for him. Through it all he has not only kept on going, he has made his kids a priority, kept a sense of humor, hope, faith, and made time to come home and help take care of me in my time of recuperation, and make things easier for his dad by doing whatever he can around the house.

I had a bad ankle injury a few months ago, and it is a long journey toward being able to walk again. Every single one of my sons and daughters in law have been there for me in ways large and small, from one son who had to make himself the contact during and after surgery, all of them who took me to and from doctor and hospital, cooked and cleaned and shopped and mowed grass. Perhaps most important, they just came when I needed company and encouragement most. Extended family brought meals and visited. Family matters.

And because this is what the post is most about, passing on what matters, I’ll brag on the grandchildren, from the oldest ones who even stayed with me a day or two to help when I was almost immobile, to the little ones who give me hugs and solemnly promised not to bump my leg, all of them have been there for me when it matters.

My husband has worked a full time job, been nurse, caretaker, coach (he’s brutal – no room for safe places in his thinking) and been the most uncomplaining companion in the world, when it was not easy to be any of those things, and when I was depressed and hurting and a big PITA. He epitomizes the for better or worse clause, and he is just absolutely as faithful and true and motivated in the worst as he is the better.

All these things matter. For us, they are the tip of the iceberg of love, family, tradition, hope, faith. They are the spoken representation of what can never truly be spoken. Together we stand, and we will not fall, and we will succeed in giving the eight kids entrusted to us to care for the best chances we possibly can to grow into adults who find their meaning and build their lives.

I submit to you that life must have deep and powerful, sacrificial meaning. One phrase can’t give life meaning. Signs can’t make life matter. Before it comes to showdowns with police, especially if they end in gunfire, life matters or it does not. From the time of conception, if this world is to matter, then life matters, and parents, family, society owe that child protection and care.

I will say what I said when Mike Brown died, and I saw his body on the street. I cried, I cried for a loss of what should have been as well as what was. He, through his own actions, lost the future chances to make his life about something that mattered.

When one young man or woman loses their life, we have all lost. But when a large, formidably, scary percentage of our youth are not given meaning and hope, values, responsibilities, family, and expectations, yes, expectations from parents and society, we all lose.

Until society understands the phrases Black Lives Matter, All Lives Matter, and all their other words designed to inflame, are incomplete without an ending, we have work to do. I think that our thinking should go further.

Life Matters Because…

A few notes in conclusion here. Most of you know me from family and religious posts. I have mostly kept my faith out of this. It is too huge a part of life to tag on here, and possibly deserves another post. You may of course address that in comments, but in order to stay on track with the ideas here, I did not include the most important thing in my life, but not out of neglect or failure to appreciate it.

This post is intended to encourage personal reflection (I could insert various scoffing adjectives from my sons here, as they reluctantly shared xxx feelings, as they so eloquently put it). I do not intend it to be a referendum on the various shootings, protests, and political arguments about them.

Be respectful, please.

Addition to original post.

In their review of this post, my sons placed emphasis on the value of humility. I’m sorry I forgot to include that, it’s very important to them. Indeed, it was a three way tie as to who is most humble.

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258 Responses to What Makes Life Matter?

  1. Michael Osmon says:

    Both in the late 70s, to me life is my family, friends, and seeing nature’s beauty from the seat of my harley.

    Liked by 9 people

  2. mombot1958 says:

    From another one of The Chicks of ’76: Thank you for stating the obvious to the somewhat oblivious. Go out daily to Love & Serve. Amen.

    Liked by 8 people

    • listingstarboard says:

      Another chick from 76 here! I remember the hooplah about 1776 bicentennial well-I remember Civics class and learning to write out a check and balance a checkbook. And having Home Economics where we had to sew a dress for a grade! Drivers Ed was part of the cirriculum.

      Liked by 6 people

  3. ncbirdnwrd says:

    Absolutely beautful, Menagerie.
    I’m 12 years older but was raised and educated in the same vein. It is beyond distressing to see these young people in the streets with no direction other than hate. So very hard to understand.

    Liked by 21 people

    • Eagle Driver says:

      Menagerie your post makes more the worth while to sit down and read and take to heart what alot of us have gone through. To you I say this: A Heart Felt Thank You for the scribe that you have written. It is a time for pausing, no matter what part of our lives we are in that we stop, bend a knee and say “Thank You, Lord”…God Bless you for your insightful knowledge of the human spirit!!!

      Liked by 18 people

  4. doyouseemyvision says:

    It’s particularly irksome to see BLM yard signs adjacent to Biden/Harris signs which is a double-kind of idiocy.

    Then I saw a white woman in her early 70’s wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt at an ice cream stand with her grandson in the car.

    Makes you think: “What the hell are these people THINKING”?

    Liked by 13 people

    • betseyross says:

      That’s the problem. They are not thinking. They have no clue as to what Black Lives Matter really is. The evilness of the Left planned it that way.

      Liked by 7 people

      • Kroesus says:

        The true herd mentality. Popular culture teaches them what to believe and they comply. The Dimms and socialists throughout the ages have used this human trait to great benefit over the years.

        Liked by 2 people

        • spoogels says:

          The problem isn’t that Johnny can’t read.

          The problem isn’t even that Johnny can’t think.

          The problem is that Johnny doesn’t know what thinking is; he confuses it with feeling.

          Thomas Sowell

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Joshua says:

    I hope your ankle is doing well M.

    You seem to be growing.

    Closeness to the Lord is a blessing.
    The Lord felt all the pain we can feel.
    He is pleased if we share all we experience with Him (He had to cut it short).

    You are a gem.

    Thank you (Lord) for you (her).

    Liked by 7 people

  6. Ken Maritch says:

    I turned 55 in in July.
    I don’t know if it is a mid-life crisis, the effects of being stuck at home during this “pandemic”, or something else….
    One day it occurred to me…. any moment spent being stressed, or not doing something that was fulfilling, was a moment wasted. I don’t know if I am going to live 40 more years, or 40 more minutes.
    I gave my notice to my employer (I am a database admin), took at part-time job as Patient Transport at our local hospital, and returned to school to become a Respiratory Therapist. Oh yeah, I also lost 50 pounds and hired a personal trainer.
    I did all this since January.
    I have never been more focused in my life.
    As SD says…. “Live your best life.”….. you only have one.

    Liked by 40 people

  7. Patio furniture says:

    I think of all the sacrifices my parents made for us with pride. The values they instilled in us lasted a lifetime and was subsequently passed down to our children. Faith, family, hard work, responsibility, decency, respect and compassion are some vital attributes we have learned and cherish. They are also the foundation of our American civil society and the components of a life filled with meaning and richness and love that truly matter.

    Liked by 11 people

  8. Dave Crawford says:

    Goes to show you how effective the media and educational system have been at eroding family values. Absolutely sickening.

    And when you have an avowed Marxist organization like BLM publicly posting their approval of the disintegration of the nuclear family (a popular policy since the 1960s), it only highlights how hard this republic is to maintain and how far they have come to defeat us.

    But I will not bend the knee or bow to these dummies. Or be politically correct. They can ruin their own lives and families but not mine.

    Liked by 17 people

  9. Peter Rabbit says:

    So beautiful and eloquent. Extraordinary expression of why we live, struggle and the dignity of it all. Thank you more than I can express.

    Liked by 8 people

  10. Puzzled says:

    My Dad was in his 20’s during the depression and early to mid 30’s overseas during WWII. Came back and with my Mom raised a family of 6. His Dad pushed a vegetable cart in NY for a living before opening a vegetable/grocery store. My father was being treated for terminal cancer and he told me he was a lucky man, he should be dead already and the only thing that kept him alive was prayer. He died shortly after he and Mom celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Mom and Dad never complained and believed in faith, family and country. They didn’t have it easy, and imagine raising 6 kids during the 60’s, 70’s. But we all never fell too far from the tree.

    Liked by 19 people

    • Krystal says:

      So very true. My parents also sacrified for the family needs and never complained. Pushed us to work once we could and checked our homework to be sure we were doing the right things to be educated for a better life. Stressed saving money (I don’t know how they did it!) – one value I should have paid more attention to! No frills, just the basics.

      Liked by 5 people

  11. Genie says:

    What makes life matter? Faith, parents, family, friends, and pets. Don’t forget pets.

    Liked by 20 people

  12. Ben Dhyani says:

    Love is what primarily makes life matter for me, both the external love shared with fellow human beings and all of nature, and the inner source of that love, God.

    Liked by 17 people

  13. bleep21k says:

    An excellent read this early morning.

    “I learned that he expected me to come to him after test day and report my good grades, measuring not only the knowledge he imparted to me, but my valuing of that teaching and time invested, and I learned that his expectations were very high.”

    “He”, in my case being my own father – a very stern, mean,strong man. Today our relationship is tenuous at best because, despite how he spoiled me and my siblings, I rebelled and moved out first opportunity age gave me.

    Yet he kept me out of prison, and alive, made SURE that I understood the value of education (I do still consider him the smartest man I’ve ever known), and gave me a foundation to survive I understand much better now.

    Being a father myself makes my life matter. My five children will be my legacy – all are exceptional from oldest to youngest, and they make life matter.

    Sharing myself as a resource of wisdom in my community also makes my life matter.

    Being a friend, a lover, makes my life matter.

    To those marching, and “protesting” and rioting – “Black Lives Matter” because… – Your turn…

    “TALK TO ME
    So we can see
    WHATS GOING ON” – Marvin Gaye

    Liked by 13 people

  14. mooselasheen says:

    Bravo Bicentennials! It was a special year. Sound like a great family, Blessings to you and yours. God Bless America!

    Liked by 4 people

  15. Dekester says:

    Thank you for the post Sundance it provides a great start to my day.

    Although my brothers and I ( all in our late fifties or the other side of sixty) were born to less than model parents.

    Our Grandparents “stepped up to the plate”raised us, showed us right from wrong, and what self sacrifice ( on their part) was all about.

    Things were shakey at times, and “very interesting “ at times but evil never crept into it.

    We always had a moral compass ( still do.)

    Interestingly the new Dem party has no moral compass, the upper echelon of the DOJ, FBI or CIA.

    P44 “his crew” and their bosom buddies in the MSM and Hollywood less than none.

    Now PDJT and his supporters they have a moral compass and it always points true north.

    The new chant “ we love you” is terrific and who among us would not be touched by that.

    PDJT sure appreciates it, and the haters B.P. Skyrockets 😂😂

    That my friends is IMO why “ they” hate us so much. We have something they are unlikely to ever have and they are so very jealous.

    God bless PDJT

    Liked by 18 people

    • lotbusyexec says:

      Great message Dekester but Menagerie, Sundances partner wrote today’s wonderful post. I too have gotten confused MANY a day. Thankfully we have the occasional guest posters (Ad Rem, Menagerie, and a few other surprise posters) to add to Sundance’s incredible body of work! So thankful for this site and all those who post their insightful comments! Have a terrific day y’all!

      Liked by 11 people

      • Baycity Duckhunter says:

        Glad I paid attention when our Jr High school teacher taught us grammar diagramming and using correct pronouns….

        Liked by 1 person

      • Dekester says:

        Thanks lotbusyexec,

        Poor excuse for sure, but Inread the beautiful piece at approximately 0400 (PST)

        I just finished re reading it again while fully awake, and thought oh oh.

        It was an even better read the second time.

        Thank you again.

        Liked by 3 people

        • lotbusyexec says:

          Dekester — I have been there done that! I too lurk here at all hours of the day and have made way BIGGER errs (grammar, spelling, triple posts…) than you. It is wonderful posters such as yourself that I have made this site my biggest addiction 😉 As Sundance has told us all “Go live your best life” today and keep on keepin on!

          Like

  16. Mike says:

    Slogans are so important to the left. It’s how they prevent thought and discourse. It gives subject for chants. And it focuses immature minds on what someone else is doing to prevent them from a better life. We do well to call them out at every opportunity.

    Liked by 7 people

  17. Flabbergasted says:

    Wonderfully stated.
    Thank you and God Bless you and your family.

    Liked by 5 people

  18. wodiej says:

    A wonderful and inspirational article. I was raised with these values as well. It has helped me get through many struggles and grown as a person.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Pale rider says:

    Life is our Lords, it’s his never was ours. George Floyd squandered that gift, as many do. What we are experiencing has nothing whatsoever to do with life’s worth, it’s evil stabbing every area we took off our armor.
    Guilt has no place in the life of a believer but yet we hold it knowing it’s chained to death. Believing our torture is cleansing. Pain does have a cleansing effect but torture no, guilt is torture.
    The lord is the only way to escape what we created.
    Imagine a man created by us, reanimated human parts? The responsibility, the lifelong care. The soul, spirit, teaching, eternity for it? It’s what we see without our lord. Our Frankenstein that we shun because of our own ideas, not perfection in mind.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. AlwaysRight says:

    Since I’ve already peered into hell, Sobriety matters most because it allows me the feel and appreciate the Love from my wife, children and grandchildren..

    Liked by 13 people

  21. Good_heavens_are_you_still_trying_to_win says:

    There are a few lessons I have learned in my 52 years, some come from my old man, others from living through the hard knocks. I pass them to my kids, they are philosophical in nature, simple, but sometimes hard to live by. Below is a sample, for everyone’s sake it is truncated, so there will be nothing like: “The Porcaro Brothers and Toto are the most under-rated performers in rock history” kind of things in there. Promise. Love to all.

    None are so blind as those who refuse to see, this is why we must seek truth in all things for ourselves. It’s what your brain is for.

    Keep what you earn, but more importantly earn what you keep.

    Share more than what you can, regularly.

    Tell those that you love that you love them, daily, but show them always.

    Be a kid as long as you can, because you only get to be one for a short time, but when the time comes be ready to grow up.

    Life can be brutal and short, but if you don’t laugh every day you are the one making it so.

    Liked by 10 people

  22. MamaTried says:

    “…I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”

    Liked by 5 people

  23. Mark James says:

    I was not surprised at the rioting most of us old folks saw a similar thing in the sixties fomented on the public disgust over the war. It too was quickly pushed by the far left radicals from peaceful hippie protests to violence. They called themselves the Students for Democratic Society (SDS) instead of Antifa and Black Lives Matter was The Black Panthers and other groups. But it was really just leftist desire for revolution same as now. The biggest difference between then and now is the sixties were a bottom up push for Communism/Socialism were now its more top down with the elitist globalist Democrats pushing for tyranny. That means this time is far more likely to get bloody. Be prepared my friends.

    Liked by 12 people

  24. ekurie says:

    What a blessing your life and family have been, and are. My mother taught me whining, lying and cheating are unacceptable. My father taught me to make all circumstances work to the good of all. My family was broken over 40 years ago. Rifts I cannot mend or bridge, alone. As a result, the remnant scraps are precious to me, and God is the central focus and strength for my life. I have never wavered from being a faithful patriot, tearing up at the National Anthem and a faithful dues-paying DAR member. We cannot sit and watch power-hungry leftists tear America apart.

    Liked by 7 people

  25. Baycity Duckhunter says:

    Very thoughtful and reflective article. Family & Faith our top value too. I graduated HS in 1977. Remember pre-air conditioned Houston; yankee invasion of inexpensive South would not have happened w/o A/C… Was in Austin this week, reflecting on how it has grown since 1960s; now has town encouraged growing pustules of homeless drug addicts, mentally damaged due to drugs/alcohol, taking over city parks, creek bottoms and highway underpasses; the city council strips money from cops to fund more homeless; the ‘no nothing’ educated white kids rejecting truth about criminal-lover Breonna Taylor, to embrace their inner Marxism; bungalows in south Austin that sold for $50k in 1979 now running $1 million land value; ….discussing it w my Austinite daughter, who wants to buy a house, but will be a tar baby and taxed to support the madness; tells me the town is so liberal/(rich Marxist) that they will not one out City Council….what was Wemmick’s favorite phrase from my 7th grade readying of Great Expectations? portable property…

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Jesse says:

    Fantastic post. If add the sense of duty felt to make this world better.

    I have a strong sense of duty to help the sick, poor, widows and orphans. I’m not sure where that came from in me, but it’s there. Perhaps because of my religion or maybe because my family was poor growing up.

    Thanks for the perspective.

    Liked by 5 people

    • riverelf says:

      Good reminder, thanks. A sense of duty will keep a person chugging along for longer than most anything else under the sun, I do think (probably why having a pet makes people live longer), and always, whenever life gets you down, do something tangible and good for someone else because that me-me-me stuff is a lie and a downward spiral.

      Liked by 3 people

  27. lotbusyexec says:

    What makes life matter is that Each Of Us Matters. No man is an island and for the most part we have been placed here to serve others and make this world a better place. We have been created in God’s likeness and thus should try and go forth each day believing that each and every person we meet amongst our day is of value and one of our extended family members. If we all started believing this way maybe Black Lives Matters (BLM) signs would read Each of us Matters (EOUM) instead and the conversation might lead to real changes and not further divisiveness/destruction of our society.

    Liked by 11 people

    • Judith says:

      You’re on the right track @lotbusyexec. And I think God put us all here to drive home this very point. Think about it: Heaven is the ultimate home base, where all of us are “safe.” So, why must our souls travel “outside the wire” to pitch our earthly tent at all?

      I think it is because we are all missing *something* that is essential to the whole, be it a charitable heart, an inner strength to overcome hardships, humility, and the basic tenets of right and wrong thinking. We may find ourselves in pre-school, while other lessons are graduate and every level inbetween. Nonetheless, we are all here to learn about *ourselves.*

      And so it is incumbent upon each of us to fill in our own missing pieces. Not anyone else’s. We can lead by example, but everyone here has both lessons to teach *and* lessons to learn.

      The catch is that we cannot heal ourselves without all the people and experiences -good and bad- that flesh out our existence. These people are meeting us exactly where we are and pushing us to the next level.

      Those who bring us the most angst are merely a reflection of the failings that we most need to address in ourselves. And those who bring us joy encourage us to continue on our journey. Once we learn the valuable lessons that other souls are here to teach us, a page is turned, and we move on to learn new lessons.

      Liked by 7 people

  28. Barry says:

    Brutality and personal emptiness are driving this. A historian could probably trace the several streams that led to “all this,’ When corporate America perverted Christmas gifting into 24/7 shopping and rush-or-die Black Friday; when Big Sports perverted competitive sportsmanship into street ball thug trash talking; when Big Music strangled creativity and perverted music into audio porn and every manner of ‘it’s all about me.”

    Not to ignore when Big Media perverted a mother’s love into competition to have super kids, even if it requires teaching your 10 year old to twerk. Not to forget Big Religion who lost – or sold – it’s backbone for membership and contributions, and in so doing in their absence of leadership by example left their members unequipped in heart and soul to resist what they know is wrong.

    The many-sided corruption of good instincts is the common thread; and the end point a generation and a half with nothing to truly believe in, an inability to truly connect heart to heart with another person; and the result is people carrying a gaping emptiness and hunger, like the cosmic black hole that consumes without end and exits only to destroy.

    And someone seems to know how to use and direct that energy.

    Liked by 3 people

  29. meow4me2 says:

    Thank you, Menagerie. This is a wonderful contribution to the discussion. I have been distressed by all of the focus on what divides us, rather than what unites us. Focusing on what really matters is one way around that. I love how you turned it around to “Life matters because….”

    It’s a great message to pass on to others. And I will do that.

    Many blessings to you and your family.

    Liked by 5 people

  30. amwick says:

    TY Menageri, this was a beautiful post. Personal responsibility is under attack. I think it is tied to patriotism, to the ideals that are the foundation of this nation. You are responsible for yourself, and for your family, and how you choose to make a great life is something called liberty, or freedom. People are trying to push collectivism, and it frightens me to the core. Tell me I am responsible for you and I balk. Force me to be responsible for you, and I get angry. I wish I could explain it better. When we work hard for ourselves and families, when we pick up that burden freely, the entire community prospers. Freedom is precious, it is also fragile.

    Liked by 11 people

    • riverelf says:

      You explained it just fine! Picking up the burden FREELY.

      Liked by 2 people

    • 55praises says:

      You are getting at the psychology of how God created us. When our heart, soul, mind, and body are in symphony with our God-given purpose, life is Good. When we (as an individual first, then a society) are in symphony there is harmony, unity, peace.

      Too many individuals are no longer in symphony with their purpose (all the wonderful things Menagerie wrote of, as well as commenters), some through no fault of their own and some due to poor judgment or mistakes. Not having a father in the home leaves a huge hole.

      Discovering one’s own talents and passions, while finding a place to see them flourish, whether in a job or business or marriage, is incredibly satisfying. For myself having a family to love, working hard and saving for the future, learning to trust God and look for His blessings, are now interwoven tightly.

      Our country has a tough road ahead. There are too many who have been ill-taught and/or full of envy, spite, malice, and hate. Some of those feelings may be honest, but they are being manipulated by some power players. God and He alone can set free the people in bondage…this is what I pray for!

      Liked by 4 people

  31. Thank you for sharing that. Thank you for reminding me that which I once had been aware of. While our lives, all of our lives, may not have traveled the same path, the basic truths are the same for all, whether they consciously are aware or not. I’ve been a sinful, prideful man for the majority of my life, and only through my faith am I renewed, and in the oddest places and in the most unusual ways, I am reminded that I am insignificant yet critical in the lives of others, and it is my responsibility to make the fullest use of the gifts I was given, both for the good of my friends and family, and indeed all of mankind. Thank you once again for the reminder. I think we all need them at times. It is true that He works in mysterious ways, and through methods unknown to us and others.

    Liked by 6 people

  32. Richard says:

    One man’s opinion, based on Experience.
    God matters; Family matters ; community matters ; country matters ; common core Judeo – Christian values matter ; ” treat others as you want to be treated matters ” ; and trust matters. Trust !!

    I have a family and personal list of successes and failures and needs improvement — like most people have.
    The biggest challenge in my life is granting forgiveness to the people / institutions / family that have absolutely betrayed me / mine , and actually actively done me harm when confronted about the betrayal actions. It is a journey.
    One must not lose faith in ALL humanity , because some real evil people…. for no reason , tried to destroy me / mine. I am still on the journey after 65 years. Keep the faith. ( but always be wary ).

    Liked by 3 people

  33. icthematrix says:

    Wonderful testimony to the great thread of human life in America, and what has made it great. These fundamental truths, ethics and ideals are paramount to a successful society. Communists, socialists, subversive groups BLM, Antifa, and others are tearing at this vital fabric.

    Liked by 2 people

  34. Tim says:

    condervatism is the new counter culture

    Liked by 6 people

  35. Tim says:

    Really worth a listen, interviewer is not familiar with his ideas

    Liked by 12 people

  36. jackpundad says:

    Beautiful inspiration to start the day! I love it & will read it many times over. God bless you for sharing! I’m looking forward to your reflection on faith.

    Like

  37. bertdilbert says:

    Menagerie, thank you for your beautiful post. It is a great break post that provokes thought and reflection. It seems you have a bundle of keys and more locks to open. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

  38. Yomin! says:

    Been saying for years, the right is the new punk. The “powers that be” might not get it, but it’s true. We used to question authority, hated establishment. It seemed to start with the grunge and “alt-roc movements; great music but whiny sops who cried about the right and propped up Dems like Billy boy to god-like status.

    Like

  39. alvasman says:

    Some days, I think it won’t be long before I become “maggot fodder”. Consequently, it gives me pause to reflect upon my life. So, when the question – What Makes Life Matter – is posed, I decided the answer, for me, is found in two Scripture verses.

    I Corinthians 13:13: “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

    And, John 8:32: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

    I say these two because it seems impossible to have truth without love. As well, is it truly love if it is devoid of truth. I could prattle on, but that’s all it would amount to. So, as the Apostle stated.”but [if I] have not love, I am nothing.”

    Liked by 4 people

  40. bulwarker says:

    One group of Americans, seemingly smaller and smaller, puts the onus on the individual. The other group blames everyone else for their problems, both small and large, directly or indirectly (inherent bias, systematic bias, etc.). When victimhood is the loftiest title many can attain, they would rather point a finger than look in a mirror.

    Liked by 4 people

  41. FofBW says:

    Thanks again Menagerie!

    Happiness is a feeling that can come and go,
    JOY comes from knowing God, and is everlasting.

    Liked by 6 people

  42. cav16 says:

    Thank you for your well presented post. I turned 75 a couple of weeks ago. I wish children today could grow up in the environment which I grew up! I grew up on a farm with a loving hard working Mother and Father. Me and my three older sisters were taught right from wrong and that we were responsible for our actions. Love of Country was instilled.
    My father worked in construction and my Mom worked in a textile factory! Although we were most likely lower middle class and I always thought we were Rich! Looking back we were! My sisters and I grew up in a loving home. When I graduated from high school my Mom attended college and earned her degree in Special Education. I enlisted in the Army and served about six years in enlisted status and later received a commission through Officers candidate School. The Army sent me to my college for me to complete my degree. I am so thankful for all the. people that shaped my life. I truly loved my 23 years in the Army! Wow, what a Fraternity!
    All the good I have accomplished in life I attribute to my Mother and Father, my community, my teachers and the US Army. Any failures I have encountered were by my own making. Thankfully there weren’t too many.

    Liked by 5 people

  43. sarasotosfan says:

    Purpose.

    This is what makes life matter.

    Those rioters’ lives are devoid of purpose. When they are done rioting, what will they do next? Without purpose, nothing.

    Liked by 3 people

  44. This post should be MANDATORY reading for every kid in school and every semi-adult entering the real world.

    Liked by 2 people

  45. tblakney says:

    A great read and a great tool for , me, to reflect because some of the points made I can relate to. Well done on the part of the writer.

    Like

  46. tblakney says:

    A great read and a great tool for , me, to reflect because some of the points made I can relate to. Well done on the part of the writer.

    Like

  47. tblakney says:

    A great read and a great tool for , me, to reflect because some of the points made I can relate to. Well done on the part of the writer.

    Liked by 1 person

  48. Sharpshorts says:

    Menagerie, thank you for a beautiful and wonderful post about the reality we all face in life.
    As I grow older that question still remains very large within me and is answered best by looking in the eyes of children, at their innocent faces and the pure joy they radiate.
    Children are What Makes Life Matter.
    Children also explain (absolutely) WHY We Are Here

    Liked by 3 people

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