I regret to announce that I have not yet discovered the meaning of life.
It’s not that I haven’t tried.
In 1968, after dropping out of Vassar, I protested at Columbia, spending the night in “the tombs” with six hundred other idealistic or reckless young people. We were trying to make a stand for justice, trying to right the wrongs of a society bent on killing and racism.
Barreling through life in my quiet way, seeking, questing. Swimming in the Aegean Sea and camping out in the ancient caves of Crete. Living on a commune in Woodstock. Living on the earth, living of the earth, that was the answer. I hated the word hippy. It trivialized our idealism and attempts to find a more natural, more genuine, lifestyle.
Giving birth to a child. Connected to the most basic, most fundamental part of life. Falling in love with my baby girl, like mothers throughout time.
Being a mother
Meditating on a hilltop in Tennessee, I envisioned Christ and realized the ashram was a cult. Going to seminary, surprised by theology. Combining feminist theology with Christian mysticism. More graduate school, becoming a pastoral counselor.
The meaning that comes through story, through many stories. Engaging in so many stories as a psychotherapist.
Starting to write. Writing stories, publishing novels.
Like me, some of us moved from one scene to another, “reinventing” ourselves at each step. A few of us stayed put, maybe for forty or fifty years. But still the stories rise and mutate and weave into a tapestry of one life or many lives, weaving in and out. Many stories form a life.
Maybe we have twenty more years on this earth, maybe less, or more. What new stories will come in those years? Stories of loss and declining bodies, or stories of integration, of seeing more clearly now that the rain (ambition/clinging/resisting) is gone? Or all of these.