Why Else Do We Live?   Leave a comment

When I find myself grumping internally about someone who needs something from me, these words recur.  I read them two years ago when my oldest son and I were reading Paton’s Cry, the Beloved Country.

As I remember, the words were the response of a woman when she was profusely thanked for an act of love.  The character she was helping was in need of housing, and was grateful to find a place to stay in the city.  She took him in indefinitely while he pursued his goal of helping someone else.  I’m sure it was somewhat of an inconvenience to her, yet her response was simply, “Why else do we live?”

I’m not sure why it is that I can comprehend this truth perfectly within the scope of a novel , but within my own life I so quickly lose sight of it.

If I had my way, what would I be living for?  The Usual Suspects: fame, love, wealth, comfort, adulation, intimacy.  But why after all these years do I honestly think these things are a. achievable and b. ultimately satisfying?

There are always demands (on my time, I like to think, but this is an error).  My children need food, shelter, teaching, all of which take time.  The cats make a mess–often at a point when we’re just heading out the door.  It’s rarely convenient to clean up someone else’s messes.  Or to help someone with a project, or perhaps just listen.

But it’s good.  And every time lately my grump-meter tries to argue with God, and fight the next act of love that needs to be done–I get this message.

“Why else do we live?”

Posted November 9, 2014 by swanatbagend in literature, reality

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