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What gives your life significance? What makes it count?

The famed cellist Pablo Casals said:

“I feel the capacity to care is the thing which gives life its deepest significance.”

He’s saying that if I want to fill my life with greater significance, I can start by caring more deeply, more genuinely about the people around me.

And if I care—really care—I have to do something.

Maybe I have to listen longer and harder, to really hear the person.

Maybe I need to be more fully present with people.

Maybe I need to be someone they can count on, someone who is fun to be with.

A song from Jackson Browne has these disturbing lyrics:

“Oh people look around you, the signs are everywhere; you’ve left it to someone other than you to be the one to care.”

That cuts deep, doesn’t it?

It’s like the old joke about the two friends. One friend says to the other, “What do you think is wrong with the world? Is it ignorance or apathy?”

The other friend says, “I don’t know and I don’t care.”

But maybe what sounds like a downer is actually an invitation—a call to be the one who is different, the one who really sees and hears people, the one who is patient and understanding and forgiving…to be the one who cares.