Drips and the Meaning of Life

chasing dry rot I love the sound of the rain drumming on the cabin roof as our sailboat gently rocks on the bay. The oil lamps cast a golden glow and the stereo quietly fills the cabin with music. It’s a great time to recline on the settee and read a good book or just meditate. That is until I began hearing the inevitable drip.

It’s so quiet I’m tempted to ignore it. Just focus on the rain or the music. Don’t listen to the drip … drip … drip. Try to think about something else. Concentrate on the book, the story, happy memories; anything but the drip … drip … drip. It’s not like the boat is going to sink. It isn’t a flood pouring in. No canon ball has pierced our hull. It’s not like we hit a rock and I’ve got to spring into action and man the pumps. It’s just a … drip … drip … drip. It won’t work. I’ve got to hunt it down, mop up the mess and put an end to it. There will be no peace until the drip is silenced.

There are some questions in life that are like that too. We can pretend they don’t exist. We can try to drown them out or ignore them but eventually we have to face them.

“Why am I here?” “Is there anything after this life?” “Is this all there is?” “Does any body care?” These questions don’t seem as urgent as say taking out the trash or getting new tires put on your car but eventually you’ll have to face them. We don’t have the “pig’s advantage.” (Mr. Pig doesn’t realize he is piggy today and bacon tomorrow.) As human beings we must ask these questions.

My Humanist friends dismiss the questions as “irrelevant.” “So what? It doesn’t matter,” but I say that it does. If life has a purpose then it follows that for me to get the most out of life, I should discover that purpose.

“But life doesn’t have a purpose John!” my friend might object.

“And how do you know that? The very fact that we can ask the question hints that there is an answer.”

“Then I decide what the purpose is. I give my life meaning!” he shouts.

“That’s noble in a John-Waynish-kind-of-way but it sounds more like you’ve put your fingers in your ears and are trying to avoid the hard work of finding the answers.”

The sun has come out and the drips have gone away but that doesn’t mean I can ignore them. It’s time to get out the calk and seal the leaks. Likewise isn’t it time to begin the quest and discover the purpose in life? But, of course, if you are a Christian, you’re already a pilgrim and well on your way to the grand discovery.

raising the sail



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