Posted by barbarosseferde Temmuz 1, 2007

MY NEXT question follows: “What do you find worth living for in life?” This question causes pain. First, there is silence. For some, the silence continues. They are the ones that say, “I haven’t really asked myself that question.”

Most of the time conversation between people starts with the question “How are you?” The answers to the question, “How do you feel today?” are simple, short and common, consisting of one or two words. As if on automatic pilot, without considering for one minute, we answer “fine, how about you.” “I feel wonderful today.” “I can’t tell you how happy I am.” “Life is wonderful. Look at that flower blossoming.”

I have always been wary of answers that talk of being fine. There are two questions I ask in the wake of these replie— for my own “I’m fine’s” and for other people’s “I’m fine’s” too. The first question is “How well do you feel?” A little? So-so? A lot? The reaction to this question is first of all, a startled one. As if the spell has been broken. The game is up. The response “I say I’m fine, I get by” is shaken to it’s foundations. A reluctant “I’m fine, really” follows the shock. Most of the time the answer is “Well, I’m not too good actually. I say it in the hope that I’ll believe it.” I realise that I mustn’t be deceived by the “I’m fine” response. “I’m fine” is a wall we hide behind. We try to hide the displeasure within us, our disappointments, our discontentment with life by covering up with “I’m fine”. This is our way of trying to protect ourselves from the pain. Sometimes “I’m fine” is an escape. An escape from our responsibilities, from our pain, from the things that have gone wrong in our lives and from the reality that things need to change.

My next question follows: “What do you find worth living for in life?” This question causes pain. First, there is silence. For some, the silence continues. They are the ones that say, “I haven’t really asked myself that question.” Or the following automatic replies are stated one after the other: “my family, my children, my wife, my job, living, my country, spring, music, food, flowers, love, freedom.”

However, the answers are not always like this. There are responses which shock us, which disappoint us. These responses go against our own, they shatter our own truths, they are given in spite of the meaning we find in life, in spite of the things we find worth living for. “Everything is so ridiculous.” “I can’t find anything worth living for, everything gives me so much pain”. “What is their worth living for?”. These confessions are the source of so much pain, sorrow and grief. So much so that they can even bring a person to the brink of a choice between life and death. Or they form the introduction to the answers which go on to explain that they have accepted living with the pain. And so, finally people turn their backs on life.

These responses are so shocking, so startling….How can the things that we find so valuable in life, the things that we expend our whole lives for, that we struggle for, that we find are the only things that bind us to life, how can these be undervalued so much by others that they can say “these things mean nothing to me”. How can they discard them so quickly without so much as a second thought? Where is the problem and who has the problem? Us or them? Is the problem with the things that we find so worthwhile?

The problem is neither with not being able to find anything worthwhile in life nor is it with the things that we find worthwhile in life. The problem is with both of these things.

The things that we find valuable in life are things that we, for some reason or other, put on a pedestal even though they don’t deserve such treatment. And because we value them so much, they inevitably disappoint us. Families we live for fall apart. Children we strive and struggle for, eventually turn their backs on us. The spring that we place so much hope on gets buried underground without being able to remain even as one wilted flower. The love that we live for is unrequited. Whatever we try to hold on to, whatever we use to bind us to life, whatever we exalt in order to love life, we eventually lose. Everything passes through our hands. The result – nothing. The result of realising that nothing is of benefit, that the things we valued so much are not really worth it after all, or realising that we don’t get back what we put in from these things, and the result of relying on these things only brings us disappointment and a world full of pain and sadness. We finally come to the realisation that no earthly thing is worth living for.

But life is not meaningless. The order and regularity of the cosmos, the perfection of creation, the variety, the artistry, the beauty.. the fact that everything created is created for a reason, is thrust before one’s eyes. One who looks closely at the universe finds a Creator Who wants to present Himself. A Creator Who has provided every opportunity for us to become acquainted with Him, in order to test us in the things worth living for in. He hasn’t left man alone, abandoned with his problems. He has shown us the meaning of life through revelation and prophets He has sent and through the creation, metamorphosis, extinction and disappearance exhibited throughout nature and the universe.

A person can find something worth living for only by understanding what his Creator wants, the things that his Creator approves of. The things worth living for can only be those accepted by The Creator, the things He wants for us. Because we are not the ones who made the decision to exist, we cannot be the ones to determine what is worth living for in life.

The only thing worthwhile is living on the name of the Creator. Living life as the recipient of His Beautiful Names and Attributes. This is why we are given life. Anything else is a false goodness, a forced holding on to of life.


© 2007, Mustafa Ulusoy


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