When author Sam Keen’s father died, so did his quest. He had been obsessed with the question:
“What can I do to give my life meaning, dignity, density?…What can I do to be saved? Be healed”
But now, in the face of the uncertainties of life and the certainty of death, that question suddenly felt hollow.
He awoke one morning in Manhattan with the words, “Nothing, nothing” on his lips.
He realized there was absolutely nothing he could do to finally protect himself against the uncertainties and insecurities and tragedies of life.
And then he started laughing!
In his book, “To A Dancing God,” Keen tried to describe what provoked that laughter. He saw that…
“Either dignity and meaningfulness come with the territory or they must be forever absent…I had been riding on an ox looking for an ox.”
It’s a funny image. But it also raises an important question: what is it that “comes with the territory” of our lives? What is the meaning and dignity already built in?
Well, just for starters…
You’re alive—and what an amazing, miraculous, mysterious thing that is.
You’re a human being—also amazing and incredible.
You’re a unique person, one of a kind—also incredible and amazing.
Our greatest challenge may still be to think a little more deeply about what it means to be human, to be alive, and to fulfill our uniqueness.
Maybe what we most need is to find life in the “near” rather than wearing ourselves out chasing it in the “far.”
Maybe we need to realize that we’re riding on an ox looking for an ox.
And maybe we’ll know we’re beginning to grasp that when we start laughing…at ourselves.