I’ve been thinking a lot about meaning these last few weeks, these last few days in particular. It seems to me that meaning comes from many different sources: God, family, friendship, and work, to name a few. It also seems to me that meaning is tied to frequency. That’s something that the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes seems to be pointing to, how the ocean never has its fill of water.
Different sources of meaning might carry different weights depending on time and frequency. As a young teacher, much of my meaning came from the students that I had know for years, that had seen me at my worst and inspired me to my best. Now, though. these many years on, I seem to be looking to co-workers for more meaning at work. That can be tricky because I’m not whether or not most adults look to work for meaning. In fact, they may be actively told NOT to look for meaning there. I understand the warning. But if that’s the case, work or vocation or calling is almost evacuated of all meaning on a necessarily professional level. It’s not God, nor is it family, therefore it is just a means to an end. That sounds a little scary to me (and more than a little sad). That’s a sobering thought when you think that you might have two more decades of work ahead of you.