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A Meaningful World: What do Smiles, Sex and Sadness Have in Common?

Updated: May 22, 2021

I remember the meal I had with my sister shortly after James, my husband, was recovering from his brain surgeries. I shared deeply with words and tears pouring out over my main course followed by hysterical giggles over pudding as we played a beloved family game of ‘consequences’ just the two of us. A meal of highs and lows. A snapshot of the extreme experiences we can have. Our own world a microcosm of the wider world we share. A world that offers us moments of ease (sun), bliss (sex) whilst also taking us to breaking points (sadness).

It’s the highs and lows of life that touch us at our core and when our core is touched we really start living. What I mean is, that being taken to the limits of oneself as we experience the ecstatic and the shattering, can take us beyond the limits of oneself. So that we touch on something that is more than the self. You might call this the transcendent, I’ve come to call this God. Some might call it weird, others wonderful. Some people run a mile from anything ‘too deep’, others glimpse over the edge, but hold back. But to hold back from truly living is to be only half alive.

This world offers so many experiences that we could call ‘gateways to meaning’ so I encourage you to do this: find something you love (a sofa, a sunset, a symphony) and allow yourself to sink deeply into that experience, so that you aren’t just an observer, but rather a participant. Don’t rush on to the next thing, allow the experience to enfold you, to touch you. Maybe you’ll experience a moment of peace or joy or perhaps even sadness. But over time I promise you’ll begin to feel more fully alive.

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