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. jumpinjarhead says:

    A very timely and thoughtful post. I especially appreciate the closing call to “personal reflection.”

    It seems to me in conversing with others in my “world” and reading so many posts here in the CTH and formerly in other platforms of (anti)social media before I left all of the rest of it having realized what a sewer it has become, that very very few Americans are willing to do much of that anymore. I believe this is yet another facet of the general degradation of our “culture” in that, just as all of us have been adversely affected in myriad ways by the wiles of our enemies (Spiritual as well as human) in the culture war beginning in the 1960s, our willingness and ability to be truly and critically (in a positive continual improvement sort of way) introspective has been severely damaged for us as a people.

    I further believe this is one of the reasons we, again as a people, have strayed from that “virtue” our prescient founders repeatedly warned us was vital to the proper functioning and actual survival of the nation they created for us.

    Given the sad state of our present “culture,” it seems very few, even on “our side” seem to either care much about any of this, much less actually do much self-reflection in this context.

    It is far easier, and less threatening to our mostly “comfortable” (not merely in the material sense, but more importantly in the “spiritual” sense) lifestyles to avoid such introspection lest we be made the least bit “uncomfortable” with the realization that we may well have strayed from the path that actually leads to both true personal and familial well-being as well as the general “good” of the nation that, again as our Founders reminded us, absolutely requires us to be “virtuous.”

    Liked by 9 people

  2. KentLawRunner says:

    As the self-proclaimed family genealogist, I have come to the realization that once we are gone, our legacy is unchangeable. When (or if) future generations look back at their ancestors, much of that legacy has been lost or forgotten.

    What remains is our family. Our children are the lasting legacy and we owe it to them, and future generations, to pass on the values that matter most. How else can they follow the Fourth Commandment – “Honor thy father and thy mother”?

    Thanks, Sundance, for sharing a personal snapshot of your legacy. When we take the time to look at what really matters, family should rank near the top of everyone’s list.

    Liked by 7 people

  3. Mariposa323 says:

    What makes life matter ? The very question I ask myself these days .. thank you Managerie for reading my mind .
    It’s good to ask this question , and congrats on raising such wonderful children .
    I have been having so many questions about what the American Dream really means to me .
    One thing I do know . If I can no longer worship freely and with human dignity I don’t know what we are fighting for .
    My husband and I sacrificed a lot living in Saudi Arabia working to save a nest egg to start our business . We achieved tremendous success .
    Yet when we were forced to wear masks and social distance in church , I have to say , my faith was really tested . I witnessed the indignity of women being forced to wear a veil and ride in the back of a bus . I witnessed and lived first hand that women’s lives didn’t matter under sharia . Yet my faith was strong . I leaned on the eternal truths that no one can change .
    This horrible year of 2020 challenged everything I built the meaning of my life on , namely that those eternal truths always remain . Jesus Christ is the way the Truth and the Life . I went to my church and I felt that I was that I was back in Saudi , living in a weird sharia dystopic world .
    People were no longer people . The priest was wearing a mask . The lie was too much . I longed for the lie of Islam than to live this lie of a virus we all had to fear more than hell itself .
    Cowering in our homes in front of a television , putting hand sanitizer on our palms at the entrance of churches instead of holy water .What difference did it make if we stayed home and watched the mass or subject ourselves to the desolation that we felt in the atmosphere of masks and banned pews .
    I spoke to my priest about all this . He said to me the most terrifying words I ever want to hear , living in this country : I don’t believe in it either , but we follow the CDC .
    I longed for Saudi then . What matters to me is my life in Christ . That is my American Dream .

    Liked by 17 people

  4. okiedelta says:

    Thank you. Sharing successes encourages us when we struggle to keep our vision forward. You remind us that ideals and principles are not only vital, they are intentional and require regular cultivation.
    And you reminded me of a quote by Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.,…”“A child’s education should begin at least 100 years before he was born.” Your story describes the soul shaping lessons learned more than 100 years ago, and which describe the same experience for many of us. But it is just as important to understand that we are today teaching those lessons for children who are still 100 years down the road.

    Liked by 8 people

    • Yeoman says:

      This comment was as powerful as Menagerie’s post

      Like

    • ourlionreigns says:

      So, this is why CTH has been most important to me. Updates and perspectives of current events, yes—but also for the common supportive themes of so many contributors here.  

      Menagerie’s expression of generational continuity, and your we’ll put concluding point of, “ we are today teaching those lessons for children who are still 100 years down the road.”, reminds me of this inspiration often quoted by Sundance:

      “And when we are gone, the scattered, free survivors hiding in the ruins of our once-great republic will sing of our deeds in forbidden songs, tending the flickering flame of individual liberty until it bursts forth again, as it must, generations later. We will live forever, like the Spartans at Thermopylae, in sacred memory.”

      If it is our extended generation’s place-in-time to fight this fight for Liberty, then it should be noted that any quarter given dilutes the good teaching so necessary right now. 

      Live Your Best Life, and Be Thankful for communities like this one.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Angus Lamont says:

    Wonderful.Thank You.

    Like

  6. Rosemary B says:

    I really absolutely enjoyed reading every word of your essay. I agree with everything you stated.
    I first came to the US as a 9 year old with two immigrant parents. Both of them from Holland, they survived WW2. I could write a book on their past and struggles.
    I remember learning all of these things in school too. I guess this is before we had a department of education?
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and beautiful summary.
    We must remain hopeful. I do grieve for our country. I believe we have not reached the summit of this devilish ordeal, but we will. We will be prepared

    Liked by 5 people

  7. This magnificent essay was an unexpected pleasure in my morning reason- you never know what treasure you will find here at the Tree House, that’s for sure.

    I was born in the early 1950s, a second generation American. Both of my parents were the first in their families to be born here. My grandparents were from Poland and Sicily- I often joke that I’ll make you an offer you can’t understand. They were all dirt poor, came here with not much more than the clothes on their backs.

    My maternal grandfather was basically a slave who worked in salt mines in Sicily. He had some pretty scary tales about the Mafia. (although they have nothing compared on our own FBI).

    We grew up in the wonderful 1950s much the same as you described. My parents and grandparents were so proud to be Americans. They only spoke English at all times and they never wanted to talk too much about our family background and history. All they would say is that “we are Americans” and that’s it.

    You ask what’s important in life and I don’t know where to begin. 20 years ago I was at death’s door due to the horrors of decades of addiction and alcoholism. My “disease” had wrecked my life, mangled my family and ruined my marriage. I was given a couple of months to live, maybe.

    I ended up in a hospital detox where I met some AA people that held meetings there. My only prayer was “God help me”- that was about all I could put together. I can tell you that on that day a miracle happened and I have not had a drink or a drug since then. I have 7 beautiful grandchildren who have never seen me drunk or drugged. I have made amends to everyone and have completely changed my life around.

    Most important to me is my belief in a Higher Power that I call God, who saved me and gave me a life beyond my wildest dreams. I wouldn’t have my family or anything else without this Divine Intervention.

    That being said, I believe it was this same Divine Intervention that has given us our President Trump, Sundance & Family, and this Fellowship of the Tree House. I feel blessed to have such a place in these troubled times we live in. I come here to share my experience, strength and hope just as most everyone else who has been fortunate to find this amazing place.

    Thanks for everything that you guys do on a daily basis. “If God is with us, who can stand against us?” #MAGA2020 & FOREVER.

    Liked by 34 people

    • Blind no Longer says:

      Seneca,
      I love your story. It especially touches me since I worked for 30 years at a state hospital, starting out in detox and later to long term treatment and adult mental health.

      When I was still in college, I worked 2nd shift in detox and drove a van full of people to local AA meetings in town. I would always volunteer to go to the meetings. I learned so much about AA and came to believe that all those therapy sessions with psychologists, psychiatrists, etc, were NEVER as beneficial as the fellowship of the the wonderful people in AA. Just my opinion, but I saw it work first hand with so many people who wanted to change their lives.

      The people who were active in their program, had sponsors or later became one, were the salt of the earth. There is strength in numbers with a common goal, much like here or with MAGA. GOD WINS!

      I am so happy for you. God bless you and all the wonderful Treepers and dedicated staff of the Treehouse!

      Liked by 13 people

    • the phoenix says:

      And here I’d been wondering if you were Iroquois, Seneca the Elder!

      As for my answer to “What Makes Life Matter?”

      Human beings are created in the image and likeness of God, each one of us therefore has an immortal soul and a corresponding infinite value, and we were created to know, love, and serve God in this life so as to be happy in Heaven with Him in the next.

      As a result, I’m a “single-issue” pro-life voter.

      Liked by 6 people

    • Agave says:

      Your post made me a little weepy with joy for you.

      Liked by 2 people

    • slowcobra says:

      Seneca, I’ve always liked you, and now I like you even more! God bless you and your family!

      Liked by 4 people

    • Seneca, I wanted to do more than just “like” your post. We are within a couple years of the same age. My roots are Italian/Calabrese also second generation. I have your same Higher Power belief arrived at after experience. Thanks.

      Liked by 3 people

    • janjan says:

      God Bless you Seneca

      Liked by 1 person

    • 55praises says:

      Amen! We have much to thank God for, each and every one of us!

      Liked by 2 people

    • herebouts says:

      Seneca,
      Where there is a test, there is a testimony! Thank you for sharing yours.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Fromseatoshinningsea says:

    Joe McCarthy nailed it, the communist infiltration is wide & deep, eroding every facet of American sovereignty and ruggedness. Joe is now vilified, so too is William Shockley, another mind from the 1950s who hit the mark on some points, missed wildly on others.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. highdezertgator says:

    Quote: ” What are the three best gifts that a child could be born with? I suggest the following three: a good constitution, a good disposition, and horse sense. I think that a child endowed with these three qualities would have very few difficulties to meet in life.” Emmet Fox

    1) Health, 2) humility and a sense of humor, 3) plain or common sense.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Blind no Longer says:

    Yesterday, while riding through my neighborhood, next to a Biden/Harris sign was another sign that said, “There are NO white people in the Bible”. This is where a Chaplain for a hospital resides. I stopped in disbelief to make sure I read it right….
    I have no words for how people’s thinking have come to this point.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Rosemary B says:

      🤷🏽‍♀️boggles the mind. We have a lot of odd signs on lawns in Eastern Loudoun county Virginia.
      Just no words.

      Like

    • boogywstew says:

      Just for starters … Greeks and Romans, who figure in the New Testament prominently, are mostly Caucasian. Wouldn’t you think, if it was true that there were no white people in the Bible, that BLM, AntiFa and other leftist groups would want to hoist the Bible, up front and center? My guess is this pastor is a christian with a small “c”, a “christian” with a wink.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Steve Waterhouse says:

        As far as I know there is no mention of the level of melanin mentioned in the bible. Therefore the bible is ‘color blind’ It is only an obsession recently. I think the bible is very focused on good versus evil. personal characteristic are not important. This is my way of ‘liking’ your post.

        Liked by 4 people

    • slowcobra says:

      Serious question: I dont even know what the message of that sign is supposed to convey. No clue. Can anyone decipher? I guess since it was next to a “dividin’ biden” sign, it is irrelevant.

      Like

    • Kroesus says:

      Seems to me since the Flood (you know the one in every cultural history), geneology has originated out of the loins of Noah and his three sons (Shem, Ham and Japheth). Even modern genetics attribute only three major racial genotypes (Caucasiod, Negroid, and Mongoloid respectively.) that are directly related to these three. So if you want to be so small and limit your study of God’s creation to one tiny attribute, then even this one assertion holds no truth within it.

      Like

    • apfelcobbler says:

      That’s some “Hotep History”.

      Like

  11. hagarthorrible says:

    The great Robert E Lee summed up the guiding light of his American life…the West Point motto…
    “Duty, Honor, Country”

    Liked by 5 people

  12. Publius2016 says:

    TY for sharing such a beautiful letter…America is the greatest country in the world…1776 Project!

    Liked by 6 people

  13. Your essay reminds me of what I believe – that ‘care’ is what matters – the care we show for ourselves, others, our vocation and profession and most importantly, our God. The ripples and tsunamis of conflict and tribulation across the span of history reflect the never ending struggle between liberty and tyranny. I believe God places us in this fallen world as a ship upon these troubled waters to “let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth”.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. jmclever says:

    Jordan Peterson, to his own surprise, became very popular with young men. He speculates that it is because he promotes the idea of personal responsibility which resonates with the young white male who has been vilified in leftist culture. My personal take as a Christ follower is that personal responsibility as well as doing meaningful work is innate as part of being created in the image of God. God gave Adam and Eve meaningful work and responsibility when he set them in the garden to take care of it. Ephesians 2:8-10 tells us that each human is created for a divinely unique purpose.

    Liked by 6 people

    • David M Kitting says:

      jm,
      A clever response to someone who says they follow Christ is, ‘Okay, what do you do when you get to the seashore and He just keeps on walking”?
      I believe that’s why He gave the ‘revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began” ROM 16:25 to Paul, who, as the Apostle to the Gentiles, instructs us to “be ye followers of me” 1COR 4:16, 11:1
      My interpretation of the American dream is simply the freedom to grow in spirit and/or wealth to your hearts desire. God has granted each of us such rights, being encompassed as unalienable in our founding documents.
      Always trust God. As my Dad used to say “You do the best you can with what you got”.

      Liked by 1 person

    • riverelf says:

      My mother always said things like pulling weeds, scrubbing toilets, and ironing shirts for somebody else to wear were the tickets to Heaven. Also being patient in sickness. And not snapping out smarta$$ remarks every five seconds.

      That last one is a toughie for me.

      Liked by 4 people

  15. Kel says:

    “The rapid evolution of a society destroys its customs and imposes on the individual, in place of the silent education of traditions, the reins and the whip of laws.”

    — Nicolás Gómez Dávila

    Liked by 2 people

  16. gensensibility says:

    Life matters because it is mine: Mine to enjoy and experience in all its dimensions. I take ownership of my life and responsibility for my own failures. I also relish my successes. Two words in juxtaposition that you will never hear from the left are personal responsibility. That is why they will never be happy. They don’t take ownership of their own lives.

    Liked by 6 people

    • M. Ruby says:

      I read a book whose premise was that in order to be happy, you must be grateful. Leftists never seem to be happy. I think it’s because envy is an unstated foundation of their politics. That’s why they rail against “income inequality” and dismiss talent, responsibility, and hard work as luck or privilege. They think they are owed something, so they are incapable of being grateful for—or happy with—what they have. What a terrible way to go through life.

      Liked by 4 people

      • brace1272 says:

        I love this comment!

        Like

      • riverelf says:

        Amen. Their dissatisfaction is unsolvable because they can’t grasp its ugly source. Those that do, leave the entire stinking sinful thing behind, and are no longer leftists.

        Liked by 2 people

      • paper doll says:

        Leftists, in my experience, seem to hate themselves, feel unworthy and try to feel better about themselves by hating everyone else…they look up to criminals because if such societal dregs are deemed worthy, surely the leftist is too. So they make the criminals kings and take up their cause. But it’s all about their own lack of self esteem. Giving everyone trophies does not build self esteem, it undermines it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Kroesus says:

        The simplest way I have ever seen it expressed is “the true measure of happiness is being content with what you have.” The modern “rat race” is premised with envy and greed, the desire to always want more than you have. A clear exploration of modern liberalism and progressive politics shows a direct conflict with Christianity. They violate two of the Ten Commandments by their very doctrine. The 9th and 10th are at direct odds with how they motivate. “Thou shall not covet” is a command against class warfare and identity politics. “Thou shalt not bear false witness” prevents factless accusation and their incorrigible lies. You could also make accusations against their governmental theft by taxation and their belief in all things not God as further violations.

        Like

      • Weylan McAnally says:

        The unhappiness stems from their belief in equality of outcome versus equality of effort. Anyone who has more than they have must have acquired it in an unethical or selfish way. Working harder, taking risks and doing the right things are discounted as ‘privilege’. They look at the external world and instantly find inequity and unfairness. I look at the world and see accomplishment and opportunity. No amount of facts will alter their world view.

        Liked by 2 people

  17. pyromancer76 says:

    Beautifully written. Thank you, Menagerie. Some of the main themes I resonate with are love, commitment – to family, hard work for family purposes (especially the next generation), community, and country — courage to protect the freedoms that permit that life of love-and-hard-work for a good future.

    I, too, am deeply saddened by these deaths and by wasted lives; I am even more saddened by the carnage, especially black-on-black (we must face truths) in the inner cities. What a horror and a huge toll this takes on every baby born in those cities who should have parents to love and cherish them and to introduce them into a future of hard work for goodness.

    I look forward to President Trump’s plans to imagine a different future for everyone. He is offering the basic resources to begin a worthwhile life filled with hard work and love and family. This cannot happen without freedom and personality responsibility.

    He is offering the same possibilities to peoples and countries of the world in his resetting economic practices and practical plans for peace.

    Our task is help him make America great again so that Menagerie’s story of love, hard work and faith can be shared by all. Personal responsibility is forever the core and it takes life-times of parents looking after the young and so on down the generations. My husband and I are helping, watching over, experiencing joy with, and expanding the education of grandchildren who are being poorly provided for by schools over Zoom – especially when parents must work – and so do the grandparents. Not easy, but we all do it.

    Almost all immigrants who come to our shores are looking for the same thing for themselves and their families. (My American history background – 2nd generation immigrants do better in school than native born – they work harder; they care; their parents care.)

    I think we need to keep the faith and expel the communists – everyone of them – who cannot, in the foundation of their evil faith – cherish freedom and love and family. And we need to recommit, every single American, to personal responsibility.

    Liked by 4 people

  18. Winston says:

    And individual responsibility is EXACTLY what is talked about in the conclusion of this great 12 minute video which describes EXACTLY the cause of what we see in the news today:

    Jordan Peterson: Postmodernism: How and why it must be fought

    Liked by 6 people

    • Aeyrie says:

      Hmm. Interesting that your “handle” is Winston! (Thinking of the book 1984, and in terms of Nihilism). Anyway, thank you for sharing this video Winston! I needed to stop at timestamp 3:13 and reflect upon the statement “There is something pathologically wrong with a person who doesn’t have any gratitude, especially when they live in what so far is the best of all possible worlds.” BINGO! There it was for me. To me, gratitude is what makes life matter. Without it we are walking dead.

      For reasons that it would take far too long to go into now my world has shrunken considerably. It has become very small. It would be intolerably small for many. The “pandemic” has made very little difference to its quality or quantity. Nevertheless, it matters little to me that my world has shrunken so drastically because there is always something to be delighted about, grateful for and humbled by.

      I am humbled down to my toes every single day when I look about my little world and realize once again that Creator regards us humans as being the greatest of his creations and that we were designed to be most like Him. I hope every day I have left on this magnificent Earth that I will be able to live up to that. I try to.

      Thank you so much, Menagerie, for giving us something wonderful to think about today. Thank you Sundance for giving us a space to share things with each other, and thank you to all my brother and sister Treepers for being here in the Treehouse sharing your stories and being your magnificent selves. Hugs and Blessings to all! ❤

      Liked by 6 people

    • Rock Knutne says:

      Winston ~~

      Thanks for posting that video.
      Spot on!

      M🇺🇸A🇺🇸G🇺🇸A

      Liked by 1 person

    • Puzzled says:

      Yes very interesting talk. I sent to my daughter but she is way ahead of me! She knows who he is, read one of his books and has watched a number of his interviews.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Have Gun Will Travel says:

    Thank you for sharing that – it was good to stop for a few minutes and reflect on why life matters.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. dbobway says:

    There is nothing better with a warm cup of coffee in a sleeping house, than reading about a beautiful life, thank you Menagerie.
    I wouldn’t trade 1 minute of my life, to do over, because I would miss what I learned about being alive every minute. It has been said life is like a roller coaster. I’m not that fond of roller coasters, maybe if I had brakes and a steering wheel, I’d like them better.
    I have never been rich, but I have lived the richest life. I imagine the time in human history, I was placed,1955 till today, in America.
    Dad was 20 and Mom 18, when I showed up. Mom from the country and Dad a city boy, from Atlanta. They knew each other 2 months, the day they were married. I was born 81/2 months later.
    My folks were the black sheep in their families, so Dad went into the Air Force, to escape. From the moment, my memories started, I’ve been in integral places in our history. I was at a SAC base in Tuscon, during the Cuban missile crisis. B-52’s were rattling our windows, 24 hours a day. My first experience of peace thru strength. The journey began. I went to 18 different schools in 22 states and Germany. Germans cried when JFK was shot, 2 years later I stood on a platform over looking the Berlin wall, the very reason for the Germans grief.
    I was a traveler of Western civilization, but in the summers I would go back to my Grandparents house, in a small town in Ga. Poppa was a farmer, and a mechanic, yet he traveled around the state and put folks together, to build churches. He told me God was in my back pocket, to watch over me. God is still there today.
    I always felt, I was training to do something really important, one day. Every experience I had, taught me a lessen about life, that would be of good use, for a moment in my future. I’m still training and this big moment, has been every moment of my life.
    I have never been in the environment we all share, today, in our history. But God, my family, my community and this precious country, has prepared me for a time like this. It isn’t a comfortable time, the danger alarm is flashing red, in my head. I am ready to do what ever needs to be done, to help keep this wonderful life we all live, in this great country. We must pass this test of our resolve.
    I always thought, I was unique in my training. I’m not, far from it. There are millions of us.
    We’re Americans, and we train, so we can stay that way.

    Liked by 7 people

    • slowcobra says:

      Thank you for sharing, dbobway.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Blind no Longer says:

      dbobway, a thousand likes. I too am a Georgia girl, born and raised in NW GA not far from the Alabama line. I have traveled but never left.

      My dad would always say, “Never try to be something you’re not”. “Always stay true to your roots and your raising”. I have never forgotten those words and they have always kept me grounded and strong in my faith and Southern upbringing.

      Family, faith and patriotism was taught and expected in our family, and we have passed those values on to the younger ones in our family. We also pass on our love for the South, our heritage of which I’m am very proud of.

      Liked by 4 people

  21. slowcobra says:

    Thank you menagerie for a heartfelt refection! It gives me pause and brought tears to my eyes.

    Like

  22. pochas94 says:

    Hey, I can help here. We’re all just animals, predators. We must eat, reproduce, fight for our space, and make those we leave behind just a little better than we were, fit to travel to the stars.

    Like

  23. What makes life matter?
    Sense of Belonging.
    It sets the tone for our potential.
    In its absence we long to find it.

    Thank you for asking.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Marcia says:

    Retired Magistrate here: What makes life matter: Jesus Christ.

    Liked by 4 people

  25. thrawlbrauna says:

    The powers of the government have grown too large. The body that is attacking us is justified in a way as we have abandoned Jeffersons teachings. We deserve this.. Jefferson detailed how we can preserve our republic and also in a way he detailed how it also solves the population management issue. One side has already risen and the police/gov body seek to keep patriots locked in their homes while they build their forces and expand. The government and their lawfare enforcement (police) are supporting this cultural revolution in defiance of the rights of ‘We the People’ as they only allow them to subjugate us and arrest us for defending our Constitutional rights.

    “Open war is upon you… whether you would risk it or not..”

    “What country before ever existed a century and half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.” -Thomas Jefferson

    Liked by 4 people

  26. Todd W says:

    Purpose other than self. Whether my existence be for the sake of children, a wife, or a trainee at work. It is a reason to get up in the morning and a reason to desire personal excellence of character as determined by my God.

    We’re all either leaders or hypocrites by example. People critique everything we say and do whether we want that or not. We are all social influencers for better or worse.

    I’ve found that the truth of what makes life matter often comes out during eulogies.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. OldSkool says:

    Hat tip to Menagerie for posting that. Born in 1951, I’ve lived through what was called the Serious Sixties and the Silly Seventies with today having a similar likeness to the Sixties only this time it’s worse as the Bad Guys are in charge of the judiciary, national law enforcement and our ability to exchange information.
    It will continue until the citizenry demands it stops, but we’re not there yet. Preppers have been mocked for decades, I would suggest you start taking that seriously and develop an action plan with family, friends and neighbors as it will be too late when all of a sudden your power goes out and/or cell phone service goes down.
    Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.

    Liked by 4 people

  28. andeclain says:

    A powerful essay. Thank you Menagerie

    Like

  29. SherryS says:

    Thank you, once again, Menagerie, for your inspiring and reflective words! You are such a blessing to us here at CTH. God bless!

    Liked by 1 person

  30. wondering999 says:

    Thank you Menagerie! Your wonderful post came right after I had read an article from Texas Monthly that showed up in my inbox, with a similar message.

    The article “Still Life”, about the life of Johnny McClamrock and his indomitable family, written by Skip Hollandsworth. Johnny suffered a devastating injury in high school, and his mom cared for him until he passed on — the entire family had the kind of undefeated-against-all-odds attitude towards life that every caretaker wants to live up to. Inspiring story of courage and faith.

    https://features.texasmonthly.com/editorial/still-life/

    Thanks for sharing your story. I get the feeling that I’d better spend today thinking about courage

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Jeff says:

    What makes life matter? That’s an easy one. There’s only one thing that makes life matter. It’s a one-word answer.
    Love.
    That’s what makes life matter. Everything else is just…an accessory. Life without love is not life, it is mere existence. Consume, eliminate, sleep, and survive.
    Love is the purpose of the Universe.

    Liked by 4 people

  32. Wtooslow says:

    After awaking this morning and enjoying coffee on our back patio I took in my morning dose of CTH. What a wonderful beginning to all of our day. After reading I decided to call my youngest Daughter, she has been a driving a force for good in my life as we together trudged the path that brought about a closeness I could never have dreamed to be able to share with another person, let alone my offspring. She has watched me grow as a father as I have been graced to be able to see Her grow as a woman. We spent and hour on the phone (FaceTime ) She lives a state away finishing her degree and preparing for law school. From her mouth evolved the most amazing words this morning, as She told me how thankful She is that President Trump has opened a world of opportunity for Her generation. Of all the struggles I have witnessed my three children endure the last 30 years, I can now see the hope I saw in my parents eyes, during the Reagan years, begin to shine in my children’s lives as America wakes up to the possibilities of Peace as the prize.

    Thank You Sundance and all Treepers, and Thank you God for President Trump. I no longer worry of what will be the future for my family….. I Look forward to watching the blessing of the next 30 years.

    A Thankful and humbled Veteran, Son and Brother of Veterans of our great Country.

    May this be a wonderful day for all.

    Liked by 7 people

  33. mopragmatist says:

    The problem of today’s youth is summed up in one phrase in your essay, Menagerie, and that is “mentally lazy or immature (to) accept it at face value”. I too pray that this issue can be solved.

    Like

  34. John says:

    If what you’ve built is destroyed you tend to resent those who’ve destroy it.
    If any intended progress is impeded you tend to resent those who impede it.

    So now we have those who engage in building being attacked by those who feel they’ve been kept from progressing – it’s a revenge trip which takes meaning from one and provides it for another while destroying both in the process.

    It always strikes me how much time and energy is expended cultivating a lifestyle around an ideological perception complete with prescribed uniform codes and modes of behavior. What might one accomplish if one stopped listening to manipulations of others and pursued ones own goals and aspirations instead? What if one formed friendships based upon genuine connections rather than on common alignments dictated by external (and often malevolent) messages?

    Standards of behavior and mutual respect are necessary for anyone to build anything, but when ALL standards are proclaimed bad and ALL deviation from those standards is championed and rewarded we have what we see unfolding before us. The highest rewards are given to those who create the most damage and live the most destructive lives. If they destroy their own life it’s unfortunate and I’d encourage them not to but I can still continue on my path while doing that.

    We’ve reached a point where they’re actively and enthusiastically destroying the lives of others and their strings are being pulled tighter and tighter. They derive personal satisfaction from the disruption of the lives of others because that type of action/reward has been imprinted on their psyche and they know nothing else. It’s like adding cocaine to the hamsters water bottle – he drinks until he dies and all within the habitrail suffer in his presence. If he was never given an easy and addictive high he’d have made choices other than the ones the puppet masters prepared for him.

    Personally, I’d prefer not to live within someone else’s box.

    There’s a whole world out there to be explored…
    …interesting and intimate conversations to be had…
    …family and friends to cherish…

    All that is being stolen from all of us because some people identify the meaning of life as power and control and money and destruction.

    I used to love being out in the world, but I’m becoming a hermit because the world kinda’ sucks now…

    Liked by 2 people

    • John says:

      Sorry if that’s a downer…

      I just see any meaning of life requiring BUILDING. Whether you grow a family, pursue a career, carve a sculpture, write a novel, climb a mountain… it all begins with one step and continues with another.

      ALL progress is being stopped so we can be mired in the mud because some people can only feel satisfied when they destroy beauty and peace and joy and love – perhaps because they have none of those in their own lives.

      What infuriates me (and exhausts me) is that they didn’t have to evolve that way. They were led down a path and in many ways WE allowed them to be because “slapping away the hands” that led them would have required too much from us.

      It all comes down to shaming. When public shaming was recognized as an essential motivation it was distorted and, even though we had an inkling that those distortions led down a destructive path, we kept silent lest we ourselves be shamed.

      On a more hopeful note – the shaming is losing its power (or at least the shaming is being redirected towards shaping more productive and cohesive societal norms…)

      Like

  35. Jesus Schwarzkopf says:

    For me, Sundance, the, “take-away idea from this essay us: “we all had an unspoken idea that we owed the world we lived in our best.”

    Thanks for putting your heart, “out there”.

    Like

  36. Jesus Schwarzkopf says:

    For me, Sundance, the, “take-away idea from this essay us: “we all had an unspoken idea that we owed the world we lived in our best.”

    Thanks for putting your heart, “out there”.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. “What Makes Life Matter?”

    That’s a very deep question that needs greater context. What is meant by any of those words?

    By “Life” do we mean the journey between the womb and the tomb? ie, the collection of an individual’s experiences? Or is it the more scientific “definition of life” that seems to be determined subjectively by those on either side of the abortion issue?

    How about the word “Matter”? Does ” mattering” entail “being of some objective consequence” which, in the end might not be so objective after all? Is it an evaluation of deeds or actions, based on a set of standards? If so, WHOSE standards?

    And, what of the word “Makes? Can ” Mattering” or “Living” be “Made?” Is this a question about the creation of something, or about the imposition of an external will, or force upon someone? Can ” Mattering” or “Living” be “Made”? Can anyone be MADE to think, believe, or even DO anything?

    Liked by 1 person

    • MelH says:

      “Wanting To Matter” is the title of my next book….Has been the title for a number of years while I procrastinate. I think it is the sole motivator of human behavior, and it does depend on “being of some consequence”, but subjective consequence, based on one’s own standards/needs. Thanks for making me rethink this, letjusticeprevail2014. The thug who kills in a street riot may think the act will make him matter to his “gang.” The 3 year old who paints his mother’s new bedspread with brown shoe polish may want to matter. to his mother who is always busy with his baby sister. Romeo wanted to matter to Juliet.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I had a psychology professor tell me that everything everyone does revolves around the desire to please oneself, in one fashion, or another. Even anonymous acts of charity, which we may do for various personal reasons, can fit that bill. As can acts of another, darker nature. IMO, the Greeks were onto something when they said “Know Thyself”

        Like

  38. Surfhut says:

    Thank you Menagerie for this beautiful post. Reading this was the perfect start to a beautiful Saturday morning. What makes life matter to me is a single word: relationship. Relationship with God, country, family. Most important is relationship with myself (self reflection).

    I am 3rd generation Norwegian on my father’s side. I have letters sent between my ancestor in the United States and his family in Norway. He left his home knowing he would never see his loved ones again. The letters between Karl in the US and his brother Olaf in Norway still bring me to tears.

    On mother’s side, I am British. I have traced that part of my heritage to my 7th great grandfather. At the age of 55, he put down his farmer’s tools and fought in the Revolutionary War. 55 was pretty old back then!

    My father came home from work every day, exhausted. Yet he sat at the kitchen table with we 4 kids, checking our homework, teaching us how to read a clock and do multiplication tables, how to write cursive … while our mother was making the family dinner. Every Sunday morning, Mom would start a pot roast or a ham or something to cook while we were at church. Every Sunday afternoon, we had a meal together while talking about important life lessons. These things are about relationship. I believe this is what has been missing in the lives of these young people who are rioting. PLUS they never were disciplined by their parents.

    I had a very good discipline relationship with my parents. I came of age in the Viet Nam era and believe many in my generation did a terrible job raising our children.

    Liked by 3 people

  39. minnesotamike55 says:

    “life” It matters, but many don’t understand what Menagerie is saying. Life requires ups and downs, it requires thinking, it requires conflict, it requires peace, yes, all of that. Living or life cannot be made. It comes from others who understand life. It is a concept becoming lost to a generation of needy dependent people. I am a believer in taking the time to read, in mentors or inspirational people, from grandparents to teachers to bosses. Without respect for adversity and adverse opinions that generate thought, insight, and humility, we are lost.
    Thanks for furthering my “life”.

    Like

  40. trondtveten says:

    Most important in life = personal power (that one which includes sympathy/love) + deep-ness..

    Like

  41. jnr2d2 says:

    Sorry to inject religion here. We owe GOD to live our best to Him, and for Him, while we are in the world. We are not of the world, but of GOD’s Kingdom. We do everything to His Glory.

    Liked by 2 people

  42. weather257 says:

    One of my favorites:
    No man is an Iland, intire of itselfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Manor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.
    John Donne

    Like

  43. WhiteBoard says:

    people do not think of their own individual life mattering.

    – – – they run to support a group cause

    as a result of this, the individual’s life is mattering less on the ‘social norm scale”

    — we watch women being tased for not having a mask on, and we sit in the Stands and do not help
    — we watch the government deem what is essential, and see people being arrested trying to open their “non-essential business”

    I suggest everyone see the VISION and IMPACT POTUS is having on the individual.
    American = individual
    African American = Group

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Right to reply says:

    Family, family values. Its important what we pass on to family. People like to think this is a race war, and its certainly painted that way by the media, but its not. This is a culture war. Our values vs theirs. The use of race elevates it to anarchy while the Trojan horse is slipped in to destroy culture.

    Liked by 4 people

  45. wyoskeptic says:

    Thank you Menagerie for this excellent piece. I find it interesting that this is a topic I have long struggled with. Being on the spectrum as I am, it is a concept I have long struggled with. Depression is well known to be an outrider of those who struggle with autism and I speak not of the kind which is related to mood, unhappiness or simply feeling down. I speak of the condition that taints every aspect of day to day life always sucking away some degree of happiness. It may ebb and surge, some times being only a little noticeable, other times being more like a wave about to swamp the life boat. Living with this as an unalterable aspect to one’s life, it becomes an inevitable question of why? Why go on, why continue to fight it, why not let it overwhelm and totally consume yourself since that would be so much easier than continuing to resist and to seek something better, a way to enjoy that which is not so very enjoyable.

    Oddly enough, what I find to be the answer is in and of itself a very easy answer. Color.

    In this age, so much emphasis is placed upon “People of Color” and all the merits there to, as though somehow people of color should be considered more worthy of respect, more worthy of consideration than those who are not. But this is a very two dimensional concept, very flat and also very much against that other concept which seems to be a co-holder in the place of honor: diversity.

    Color is not flat by its very nature, color is not a shade of black or white or gray, color has depth and many, many shades for after all who cannot say that there are many greens within the color green on the color band, many, many shades of yellow, or pink or blue. In considering any one’s life it is not to look at it as it were an old black and white movie reel but rather to see an epic story unfold in glorious technicolor. In the famous poem by Max Ehrmann, “Desiderata” there is a line that goes “Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.” The dull and ignorant too have a story which, if looked at closely, is not so dull and is full of depth and texture. And color. All around one there is an infinity of texture, depth, shadings and yes, color. If one looks for it.

    So, what makes life matter? Anyone’s life or all people’s lives, what makes it matter? Color. The color that each and everyone brings to that constantly changing, constantly moving picture that is so vivid, so detailed, so complex that it is beyond the ability of any one person’s mind to encompass it all. A moving, changing, improving image that is so magnificent and so filled with motion, sound, and emotion, that to try and capture it in one stock line or one sound bite for the evening news is to make it all into nothing more than a simple line drawn cartoon. It is the depth of vitality that each and every one contributes to this ongoing montage which is not limited to the experience of just one, but merges into that huge, vast, infinite tapestry of all that has been, is here now and soon will be here in the future.

    What makes life matter? It is not the search for what is the individual worth of one being that is important, but rather all that one being adds to this complete experience of life, and it is that they should take pride in what they have added to all of the whole. After all, that sum that person adds amounts to all that a person has, and is, which is offered in total to all who are around him or her. It is not one grain of sand which makes a beach, but rather the millions and millions all together which does so.

    What makes life matter? The experience of living it. The experience of seeing others live theirs. It is the good times, the happy times, the bad times, the sad times. It is experiencing great happiness or enduring the most dreadful sorrows. It is all in between the extremes.

    What makes other lives matter? It is the knowledge, the understanding, the awareness that no matter great a life one has lived, there is another who has lived greater and that no matter how bad a life has been suffered, there is another who has suffered more; that no matter how broadly experienced one is, there is another who is more so and perhaps in ways that shares nothing similar at all with yourself.

    Why do other lives matter? It is this color, this diversity, all these differences which is so important, for if everyone lived exactly the same life start to finish, as one ant out of millions in a very large anthill might, then losing one would be not noticeable and the tapestry of life would not be much diminished. It is the uniqueness of each and every one who draws breath that gives such measure to the over all matrix of life and that, by their uniqueness, is what gives value to each and everyone, that is what makes each and every life matter, to each person and to all people as a whole.

    Liked by 4 people

  46. Menagerie, thank you for sharing so much of your life with us. Through the words and wisdom that you share (and you word quite well!) when you post and most especially in this one, I can’t help but tell you this time that you are truly incredibly beautiful to me and a very special blessing and inspiration.

    Like

  47. ginaswo says:

    Thank you 🙏💕

    Like

  48. Radiotexas says:

    Wonderful piece! Thanks so much for sharing with us.

    I have formed an opinion that a whole lot of this uncivilized behavior metastasized with the email phenomenon (or plague if you like) beginning in the late 1980s. People discovered that they could type out whatever came to mind– sometimes anonymously– the consequences be damned. Writing things that would not consider speaking in person (in most cases anyway) without worry about receiving a fat lip or a kick in the posterior.

    Naturally, email became the dominant way of communication and then when “blogging” became fashionable, the problem intensified. We find ourselves faced with others who will not only type but SAY anything to anyone regardless of the consequences….. but wait…. what consequences? Yup… some “blogs” (CTH included) can and will BAN users for bad behavior. But then there is that tricky wicket of who does the banning!

    Last week the video of the young lady having a melt down driving her car when she heard about RBG passing away is a textbook case. What would her mother or grandmother have said to her? In my house, I guarantee Miss Hissyfit would have had her mouth washed out with soap- FIRST!

    So, here we are. Personal responsibility is learned. Learned by the examples set by others. I call them the “guardrails of society.” Not an original though as I read about it many years ago. Once upon a time there were parents (family), church, school teachers, Scouts, role models, youth clubs, sports teams and so forth. Since man, by his very nature, tends to stray and wander from side to side, these “guardrails” help keep us in the lane. Problem is, these guardrails either no longer exist for the masses or they’ve been replaced with digital devices which vary depending on how people “feel” at a given moment.

    My 2 cents worth. MAGA from the Republic of Texas!

    Liked by 2 people

  49. Loren says:

    What makes Life Matter?
    God Jesus Family and thank God being born in the Greatest county on earth, that gave my ancestors liberty and the freedom to live their lives as they saw fit.
    My family tree goes back in this country to the 1600’s, both sides and they fought in every war,except the Spanish/American war. They fought on both sides of the civil war, north and south.
    If my ancestors, the first of my family that set foot in this country could speak today, they would say, the fact that Loren his children and grandchildren and all the rest are here in the 21st century and they are thriving, they have a reverence for God love Jesus and will defend this great country, they would say all this is what made their lives matter and it will make my life matter.

    Liked by 3 people

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