If you’ve read Relentless Grace you might recall a scene in which Becky and I posed in front of a similar sign more than thirty years ago.
This occasion has a much happier outcome. (And if you haven’t read Relentless Grace, may I ask what you’re waiting for?)
Several months after my injury a friend came to see me. We weren’t especially close, so her visit was a bit of a surprise.
We chatted awhile and she told me she felt like she was supposed to share with me. She handed me a copy of Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search For Meaning. I didn’t realize its significance at the time, but Frankl’s poignant study of survival amid the horrors of Nazi concentration camps became a cornerstone of my eventual recovery.
Frankl observed that prisoners seemed to survive at random. Strong men often died quickly while weaker folks endured terrible atrocities and abuses. Finally he understood that physical circumstance wasn’t the determining factor. Frankl realized that long-term survivors shared one common trait: HOPE.
He concluded that those who had a reason to live, for whom life held meaning, were much more likely to survive.
Frankl’s story helped me understand that the path to recovery must pass through hope.
Hope looks forward with confidence and expectation, based on faith. Faith looks back and sees that God always keeps His promises. So hope is a confident expectation based on faith.
And when I know the future is secure, resting on the firm foundation of faith, I’m free to seek, discover, and live out my true purpose. I’m free to live an authentically meaningful life.
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:12-13)
Paul says that for now we only see part of the picture, so we need faith and hope. We need to look back and affirm our future expectations. But the day will come when we’ll see everything clearly. On that day we’ll live fully in the presence of love.
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I’m excited as I anticipate the initial COLORADO MOUNTAIN FREEDOM TOUR, but excitement’s not enough. Progress, success, achievement…they’re hollow if they’re just stuff to do. The bike riding and fundraising and speaking will all become dust soon enough.
It’s gotta mean something, and authentic meaning can never be found in what we accomplish. When the smoke clears, meaning resides in the lives we manage to touch along the way.
It’s gotta mean something, and we’ll only find meaning when what we do is rooted in love.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
It’s gotta be about love, or it’s all just noise.
(based on a post first published July, 2013)