It would be easy for someone to mistake meaning for definition and think that they were supposed to figure out how to define something in a new way but instead the meaning referred to here is having meaning to someone or the meaning it holds to society. If l look to what holds meaning for me, what I am grateful I peruse over the obvious things like being alive and being healthy because none of those have meaning to me without my family.  I am grateful for a mother and father that have supported me through the years and given me the room to make mistakes and take my time in the pursuit of becoming the person that I want to be.  I am grateful for my sisters.  My older sister who doesn’t know it but is a role model to me in her thoroughness and preparedness. I am grateful for a twin sister who is like a distorted mirror of my own self who has always been willing to fight for me whether I noticed I needed defending or not. I am thankful for the nieces and nephews that have been given to me.  I do not know whether I will have my own children or not but as long as my nieces and nephew are around I know they will continue to be miracles and carry on our family line.  They surprise me every time around them. They help give my life meaning. They are wonderful and beautiful children that are growing up so fast, intelligent, and brave. I am grateful that I can bear witness to all of it.
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My strengths to help me with engagement in meaning have to be independence and creativity.  These have long been the tools I find solace and meaning in but sometimes I turn away from them afraid to be brave and questioning the endurance that I have for standing alone.  If I am ever going to find a true meaning and purpose in my life through I cannot be afraid to rely on my independence or pursue my creative endeavors.  I have to write stories that force people to keep turning pages when they mean to go to sleep. I have to write the poems that will make people have those moments of clarity or moments where their eyes well up with tears. For me that is where the engagement and meaning has always been and that is when I have felt most complete.

I think the challenge of bring peace, prosperity for all, or sustainability is a big challenge but one has to not think about how big it is and think about all the little ways that in can be contributed to. Use your creativity to find ways to improve your neighborhood. Reward kids for can drives. Start community gardens. Work at food banks, donate your time and your money but also talk to people and tell them what is going on. Make people understand that there are people in the world that are suffering from the inequities of life and we need to decrease the discrepancy. We have to carry a message that if one man is suffering then all men are suffering because we are one people.


6 thoughts on “Meaning

  1. John, the point you made about not worrying about how big a deed is matters so much in the larger picture. I always remember viewing a commercial when I was younger that showed people throwing cigarette butts on the ground just before a man stood on a huge mound of cigarette butts that had collected. The point was the inverse of yours, but has the same meaning. Every penny, every small thing, and the seemingly insignificant can make a huge difference when tallied or done collectively by others across the globe. What we do as individuals can truly affect the lives of others, good or bad. I hope you are encouraged to gain that freedom which will allow you to write in a powerful way and can move others to make meaning as well. 🙂

  2. I really enjoy reading about what each of us is grateful for. It’s such a nice sentiment and leaves everyone in a good mood. I love the line ” I have to write stories that force people to keep turning pages when they mean to go to sleep.” That’s such a unique idea that I don’t usually hear from writers, but it’s so clear in the intention. It’s also apparent how you want to affect change in the world which is such a wonderful thing to hear.

    • Thank you! I get so frustrated when I hear apathetic or jaded people talk about how little we can do. I think anything we can do is a lot. We never know the ripple effect it could have.

  3. John, if anyone can write the poems or stories that keep us up at night furiously flipping the pages, it’s you. I am still so touched by your poem that I got to hear in class. Your words are powerful, and that is something else to be grateful for 🙂

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