The Purpose of Life?

Four years ago I attended the funeral of a thirty-year-old woman. She was in the midst of her residency to become a physician when she was stricken with an extremely rare form of cancer. She had been married only a year when she fell ill, and two years after that the disease claimed her life.

Her husband was remarkably composed at the service, somehow managing to contain his devastation. He had been extremely devoted to his wife and visited her constantly while she was in the hospital, even though she was often very likely unaware of his being there.

He gave a speech, and something he said stuck with me. He said that he had always thought life was about achieving something big, and how sad it was if you died before doing so. But he had come to realize that the overwhelming majority of people “do not make the history books” and so this would seem an inaccurate answer to the question of the purpose of life. In light of his recent experience, he concluded instead that life is ultimately about our connections with and relationships to others.

Just something to consider as we get lost in our daily tasks, routines, and responsibilities in a life that’s bound to be short no matter how long it is.

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