peace, love, and having a mind of your own

i refuse to look at life through the lens of tradition.
i refuse to believe everything i am told.
i refuse to live a life that doesn't promote peace, love, and having a mind of your own.

18 January 2011

How did you spend your MLK day?

That Martin Luther King, Jr. guy? He said some pretty provocative things. Sure, he articulated plenty of “nice” things that were easy to swallow, too. He talked a lot about choosing love over hate, which is always a nice thing to smile at until the next time some idiot cuts you off on the freeway. However, I particularly enjoy the hard-to-swallow, challenging truths this man spoke. If it makes me re-evaluate my life and choices, it’s worth listening to. So in case your Facebook page wasn’t bursting with MLK quotes yesterday, let’s have a look at one of my favorites.

“If a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live.”

Well, have you discovered something you would die for? Before you go thanking your lucky stars that you just got to spend a whole Monday playing Kinect Dance Central in your undies [or however you choose to liberate yourself on a day off], think about that.

When I first read it, I thought maybe Martin was suggesting we kill off every selfish narcissist who doesn’t care about anyone else enough to give up his own lame life for a worthy cause. But the more I thought about it, and reasoned that Marty wasn’t into killing people, I determined he was probably talking about the quality of life we live.

I think he was just saying, “Life is short. Don’t fill it with meaningless crap.”

The book of Ecclesiastes focuses on finding the meaning of life. The Teacher starts it off by saying that “everything is meaningless.” He goes on to explore wisdom, pleasure, foolishness, hard work, power, wealth, injustice, companionship, the limits of human wisdom, wickedness and righteousness, and death. One of the sad truths he writes about is the futility of pleasure.

“After much thought, I decided to cheer myself with wine. While still seeking wisdom, I clutched at foolishness. In this way, I hoped to experience the only happiness most people find during their brief life in this world.”

[Eccl. 2:3]

I see this attitude in people. I see that people give thought to what they want their lives to be about, only to give up, hit the bar, and dive into the crowded pool of insignificance lined with clowns laughing their way to a drowning.

You don’t have to be a martyr or a saint in order to be deemed “fit to live.” You just need to evaluate what you are living for. Is it something that you find so worthwhile, that you would want to be defined by it? Have it as your title? Spend priceless time and energy working for it? And, if the opportunity arose, die for it?

Towards the end of Ecclesiastes, as the Teacher is getting ready to give his final conclusion on the point of life, he says this.

“Young man, it is wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything that you do. So banish grief and pain, but remember that youth, with a whole life before it, still faces the threat of meaninglessness.”

[Eccl. 12: 9-10, NLT]

So how ‘bout it? Found anything worthwhile to live for yet?

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