Russell and Duenes

Why Do We Grasp So Tenaciously at Life?

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graspingIn my old classroom, I had a picture of the Kashmir region of Pakistan.  The picture is stark: 15 heavily bundled students sitting and 1 teacher attempting to conduct class in a dirt patch in the freezing cold.  There is no ‘classroom’ for them, for the region was hit by an earthquake in October of 2005, killing roughly 73,000 people.  What ‘classroom’ these students had was blown away by the wind, yet they press on to educate themselves with the few chairs they still have.  Why?

I once read a book called Hiroshima, by John Hershey, which is essentially the memoirs of several people who survived the atomic bomb of 1945.  In the early chapters one gets a sense of the chaos, horror, confusion, and destruction.  Yet one of the men, a Mr. Tanimoto, works like crazy to help and care for other survivors.  People burned, maimed, vomiting, retching, crying, wailing, trying desperately to hold onto life, to escape the clutches of death.  And here is this man desperately doing what little he can.  Why?

Why do we humans instinctively seem to scratch and claw, in good circumstances and in bad, in order not merely to survive, but to make something out of our lives, not simply to live, but to invest our lives with meaning?  It would seem to indicate that there’s something worth living FOR!  It suggests that out lives truly matter, and that we were made for purposes beyond just surviving for four-score and ten and then turning to fertilizer.  There must be something ‘good’ that beckons us.  There must be a certain kind of life that’s worth having.  Perhaps, the God who made us is offering such a life.  Perhaps, if we have eyes to see, the gospel is entirely about just such an offer.



Written by Michael Duenes

April 23, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Posted in Duenes, Reflections

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