My Philosophy of Life
Life. Who created it? What do I value in it? How important is it to me? How should I honor it? How does it fit into the whole scheme of things? Where do I fit in it? Why was it created? How can it be improved?
Questions like those above have haunted philosophers and theologians for ages, and they haunted me while contemplating my philosophy of life. People explain life in so many ways, from a gift from on high to a series of biological processes. When life itself is so hard to pin down, how can a person develop a philosophy centered on it? But that is why so many philosophies exist simultaneously in the world, and why none of them are completely wrong or right. In the end, I decided that I had to find my own answers to these questions and so, develop a philosophy right for me, if no one else.
As a Christian, I believe that God should be a major part of my philosophy of life. God created life, and that fact is really amazing to contemplate. I imagine myself as an all-powerful Being, and I ask myself, what would I do with that power? Maybe I would create a nice sports car and an incredible mansion for myself to enjoy, along with an endless supply of cheesecakes. Maybe I would create a sunny tropical paradise filled sandy beaches and cerulean water. In the end, I doubt that I would be able to fully overcome my human weaknesses to do something so crazy and so unselfish as to create a world full of intelligent creatures and give them the freedom to destroy all the pretty things I gave them and to denounce and ignore me. God is pretty amazing to have done it-in fact, God could not be anything but pure, undiluted love to have created so many unpredictable creatures in His own image to share His world.
Because God created humans in His image and because He cared enough about sharing His world with others that He created humans, God made a significant statement about the value of human life. God, by creating humans, declared that humans are important, and, therefore, that human life is important. Godís relationship with humans adds infinite value to human life.
In this light, I can find nothing more valuable than the life we, as humans, share with God. Of course, I do not intend that statement to be viewed as diminishing Godís importance. Rather, God embodies life, and celebrating and honoring life celebrates and honors God. Therefore, I am committed to promoting and protecting the precious gift that is life.
The reverence for life I desire does not come easily. Reverencing life does not mean simply not killing others. It does not even stop at opposing abortion, euthanasia, and the death penalty. Reverencing life must involve every choice made throughout every day. Doing something so small as making a disrespectful comment to someone shows not only a lack of respect for that person but for life. All of the small assaults on life people make every day add up over time and become low self-esteem, depression, and sometimes, self-abuse.
I value life, and I make decisions on issues and everyday situations based on how my choice would help or harm life. It is a simple principle to state, but it is difficult to live by. Sometimes, making the life-centered choice does not mean making the easiest or most pleasant choice. However, when I feel I tempted to make the easy choices, I remember how the late Joseph Cardinal Bernadin described what a personís commitment to the cause of life should be: a ďseamless garment,Ē embracing every aspect of life.
People are at their best when they heed Cardinal Bernadinís words. When people respect life, they reap the benefits of peace, harmony, and good will. People can achieve happiness when they realize life is not something fleeting or insignificant, but a gift that lasts forever. If people respected life more, so many of the worldís problems could be resolved. Conflict may make a book more interesting, but it can have serious consequences in real life, from hurt feelings to death. Disrespect for life led to the guillotine, the Holocaust, and, today, to the school massacre. People may be at their best when they respect life, but they are certainly at their worst when they disrespect it.
God created the universe, and to make it the way it is, He had to take the risk of people disregarding His generosity. The world He created may seem dark at times because of peopleís bad choices, but in the end, the darkness only makes the light of Godís love shine brighter in comparison. God created the universe to share His light and His love, to overcome, not to promote evil and darkness. God did not create the dark vacuum of space, but God did create the light of the stars.
Life is a gift. It is the embodiment of Godís grace. Therefore, life is precious. By giving life the reverence it deserves, people can protect this fragile present. Life becomes more joyful when it is mutually respected. I have experienced the consequences of trivializing life, and I have struggled with the resulting feelings of inadequacy and depression for years. Life bruises far too easily, and it must be guarded like a vulnerable child. The best protection for life is the same as the best protection for a child: love.
My philosophy of life resembles the Christian philosophy of life greatly. Jesus gave the world two commandments in the Gospels, to love one another and to love God above everything. Those two encapsulate the idea of reverencing and loving life. By loving others, I show respect for their essence of life, and by loving God, I show my love for life and its Creator. When Jesus reduced the Law of the Hebrew Scriptures to two commandments, it may have seemed completely radical, but really, he was right. The entire Law is only an elaboration of the concepts of reverencing life and loving life. The Christian philosophy of life focuses on love of life, and I, being a Christian, try to model my own philosophy of life on its ideals. I earnestly pray that I will maintain my ideals throughout my life.
Copyright © 2002 Colleen Fischer | Last updated October 7, 2002