Wednesday, October 05, 2011

What is Life?

I was very challenged today, when a friend, who was obviously feeling a bit "down" on having discovered that something he had hoped for most possibly wouldn`t be able to happen for them (and I`m not refering to material things), suddenly said a very serious "What is Life?"

How to answer?
- I thought for a moment and then said "that`s a very deep question".   I sat and thought, but I couldn`t find words to really answer it, and I ended up saying "that`s something that very difficult to describe and to put into words".  

I felt that I had let him down, by not being able to give a better answer.  And that he was probably expecting a better answer from my faith.

I wonder what answer others would have given or what any of you would advise me to say if a similiar situation arises again?


Z said...

Well, why should having a faith magically give one the answers? The same things happen, whether you are Christian or have another religion or none, and how you cope with them is not necessarily reliant on faith, whatever one means by that. Life for a blade of grass is surely different from life for a cat or life for a person - honestly, it's a pretty stupid question that doesn't have an answer. Not that you could have said that.

I doubt I'd answer directly. If someone dropped that into the conversation, I'd ask what they meant. If I knew, I sympathised but I couldn't do a thing to help, I'd probably say "it's hard to know, sometimes, isn't it. I'm so sorry for *your situation*." What one needs, if one asks, is to know someone cares. A slick answer doesn't help.

The other night - you don't mind me taking over your comment box, do you? - a friend was talking about a problem her daughter has at school, and she referred to the family situation (her son died recently) and I bolstered her up, I didn't let her cry, I said I'd come round and we'd cry together, but not now, in public. I don't know if I was right, but she stiffened her resolve and coped. I will go round and see her though, and I helped with the daughter situation. What I mean is, I think that practical action helps most, and knowing that someone cares does too, and words come third at best.

Ivy said...

Thanks Z,
Yes, I did sympathise with him. It made me sad to hear that he thinks they`re very unlikely to be able to have any children.
I think his "what is life" could almost also be interpreted as "what are we here for".
Deep questions which have set me pondering on them too.

[No, I don`t mind a bit you (as you put it) "taking over" my comments box. Feel free anytime.]