The Meaning of Life

Here are a couple of stories I have found that resonate with my spirit. There are times in my life when things get difficult or overwhelming and sometimes am pulled down. I find that by reflecting on these stories, I am able to once again realize that no matter what happens to me or the world around me, there are choices that will be made in one direction or the other. These stories give me the insight to recognize the higher path, and to make choices that will lead me in that direction. May you also choose well.
– Rev. Larry Goyda


What Is The Meaning of Life?

by Robert Fulghum

A Greek philosopher and teacher ended a lecture asking, “Are there any questions?” In the audience was Robert Fulghum who asked, “Dr. Papaderos, what is the meaning of life?”

Fulghum relates: “The usual laughter followed, and people started to go. Papaderos held up his hand and stilled the room and looked at me for a long time, asking with his eyes if I was serious and seeing from my eyes that I was. ‘I will answer your question,’ he said. Then taking his wallet out of his hip pocket, he fished into it and brought out a very small, round mirror, about the size of a quarter. Then he said, ‘When I was a small child, during the war, we were very poor and we lived in a remote village. One day, on the road, I found several broken pieces of a mirror from a wrecked German motorcycle. I tried to find all the pieces and put them together, but it was not possible, so I kept only the largest piece. This one. And by scratching it on a stone, I made it round. I began to play with it as a toy and became fascinated by the fact that I could reflect light into dark places where the sun would not shine – in deep holes and crevices and dark closets. It became a game for me to get light into the most inaccessible places I could find. I kept the little mirror, and as I went about my growing up, I would take it out in idle moments and continue the challenge of the game. As I became a man, I grew to understand that this was not just a child’s game but a metaphor for what I might do with my life. I came to understand that I am not the light or the source of the light. But light – truth, understanding, knowledge – is there, and it will only shine in many dark places if I reflect it.

‘I am a fragment of a mirror whose whole design and shape I do not know. Nevertheless, with what I have, I can reflect light into the dark places of this world – into the black places in the hearts of men – and change some things in some people. Perhaps others may see and do likewise. This is what I am about. This is the meaning of my life.’

“And then he took his small mirror and, holding it carefully, caught the bright rays of daylight streaming through the window and reflected them onto my face and onto my hands folded on the desk.”


The Story of Two Wolves

One evening, an old Cherokee man told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, “My son, the battle is between 2 ‘wolves’ inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false-pride, superiority, and the ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”


Peace Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy.

Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood, as to understand,
To be loved, as to love,
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying
That we are born to eternal life.