Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Pupose of Life (still learning, but I've had a couple good recent experiences)

I want to share a couple stories of experiences I’ve had over the last month or so. The first experience happened a week ago or so. I was in the locker room at the gym and overheard two young analysts speaking about a town that was familiar to them both. They commented on how it was a great town, a town that you could really live in. Then they contrasted it to Manhattan, what they classified as a town that was only good for working and dying. They said, “Manhattan is only good for working. You work and work and then you die here.” It was interesting and shocking at the same time to hear them discussing this. It reminded me of an experience that had happened a couple weeks prior to this experience. I was sitting in a client meeting and the question came up just how much longer the client expected to work. He answered by telling a story about his father and that he hoped to emulate his father’s example. He told of how his father was an attorney and died at the office, sitting at his board room table. This is how he hoped to die, working and sitting at the board room table.

These were two eye opening experiences for me. Experiences like these have the effect of focusing your thoughts and help you think about life. First of all, there is more to life than working, because to work and work and then die would be a terribly outcome indeed. It makes me glad to have the gospel and to know that there is more to life than just working and/or seeking after worldly things. Working hard is good, but it’s not the purpose of life. Secondly, I thought about how it would be to want to die at work. It made me think about how people like that must be defined by their work. Their self-worth, motivation and purpose in life are to work and make money. Whereas with the gospel my self-worth comes from knowing that I am a son of God with potential to become like him; my motivation comes from my relationships with my wife and family and my desire to be happy and return to live with God; and my purpose in life mirrors my motivation.

I’m glad for these experiences. Living in New York reminds me of the saying that without sorrow we would never come to know happiness and without evil there would be no righteousness.