Friday, 20 April 2012
Has Life Meaning Without Faith?
Take it back 10 or more years ago and ask me if I was happy and if life was OK and I would of course have answered that I was great and life was pretty near perfect. I earned very good money, went out partying loads and had a long-term boyfriend I loved. We owned our own brand new apartment and had a nice car each (mine paid for by work), private healthcare, decent pensions and we were planning our wedding. I regularly had beauty treatments, went away for spa weekends and had multiple oversees holiday each year. Everything I dreamed of as a child was mine or within reach. Sounds good, yes?
But the one thing I really remember and I was aware of it then, was that despite having lots of things and even wonderful people in my life I was still searching. I had a sense of unrest. You certainly could not have used the word content to describe me back then, I had no idea what I was searching for, but I was on a mission to achieve more and more. Each time I moved up the career ladder it was then time to think about the next move or time to think about which top London restaurant I would next visit with my girlfriends. Which Radley bag would be this months little treat? Life really was all about possessions, money and power. Status and image were indeed king.
What I have learnt over the last decade is that I can be truly happy without all those things. It is actually pretty freeing not to own too much and to just purchase what is necessary with the odd treat thrown in. My life now is so much fuller than it was then, parts remain the same, I have my husband I love and my family. Many of my friends remain, although we are now scattered around the globe and I have new friends too, ones that never back in my snobby money fuelled days would I have imagined might be my friends with.
The biggest differences I have noticed are those that took place inside me, my heart has been softened and opened. I now have a heart that bleeds for those living in poverty in both this country and abroad. My compassion has increased beyond comprehension, as has my generosity. The patience I show to my children and work colleagues is something that previous staff of mine would be astounded by, in my younger years I was a hard task master that expected complete dedication from my staff whatever their personal circumstance.
I'm pleased that I no longer break out in anger or pump my fist on the desk when frustrated. In traffic I do not curse the driver in front anymore, nowadays I use the time to be thankful and to pray for more patience and spiritual fruits. Perhaps I sound a bit smug to you but that is not what I intend, not everything in my life is blessed and easy. I just choose to look on the bright side of life and that helps. Like really, really helps.
Do I sound boring to you? Maybe. But that is OK, I know my life is rich and varied, it has meaning and I make a difference to the lives of many people, that is a privilege and responsibility that I can not ignore. I have discovered that when I go out on a limb and take a risk with good intentions I am rewarded ten-fold. To know that I am loved unconditionally and forgiven for my sins is a powerful thing, the peace that it affords to me is beyond a price tag.
To answer my own original question, what is life without faith? Simply for me, life would be nothing, It would all be about self and instant gratification; the eternal quest for money and status. I am so glad that the hole I felt inside me for such a long time, the one I was seeking to fill has been filled, now I know that it was a God shaped hole all along.
What do you think, has life meaning without faith? and if you do not have a faith, I'd be interested to hear what you believe is the meaning of your life? (and I ask that with an open mind).