Have you ever wondered if your life has any meaning? Whether you make a difference? I have. I look at my life and I sometimes wonder what is the point of it? Do I really matter? I am not rich or famous. I have no great accomplishments to my name. The world would have me believe that I am nothing…nobody. But what is it that really makes a meaningful life?
On July 24th of this year my great-niece, Izabelle Shelby Barnes, passed away. She was ten months old. Today is her first birthday. Izabelle didn’t have a lot of time on this earth. She couldn’t even talk. But she did have an impact on those who knew her. She had a smile that lifted hearts. When she turned that smile on you, it made you feel incredibly special and very loved. Izabelle knew how to express her love, better than most adults. She loved and she laughed and she enjoyed life. More than that, she helped bring joy to others.
What is more meaningful than that?
Izabelle’s passing has helped me realize that it isn’t accolades or wealth that bring meaning to life. No degrees or honors or grand inventions give a soul worth. Our true worth comes from what we give of ourselves. Every life has meaning, because every life has an impact, good or bad, on others. The question isn’t really, “Does my life make a difference?” but “What difference will my life make?” That we get to choose, every day, every hour.
We all interact with someone. If you are reading this, then I am interacting with you. It is in those interactions that the meaning of our lives takes shape. When we choose to make those interactions as positive and uplifting as we can we become a force for good in the world. Our lives become not only meaningful, but essential. Whether we are just months in this world or live beyond 100 years the answer, to me, is the same. A meaningful life is one in which we share the best of ourselves with others.