Finding the meaning of life

By  Hillary Windsor, Youth Speak News
  • March 30, 2009
OTTAWA - In life, there are roads that lead in every direction. Some are winding, some bumpy, some smooth and some branch off in different directions. In life, there are endless choices, but we never know where these paths will lead, so for better or for worse, we choose.

We choose for different reasons, but one contributing factor in my decision-making has always been faith. When I was  in the second grade, I remember my brother had this book, Bart Simpson’s Guide to Life, which I’d sometimes steal and flip through. There was a recurring joke that said, “Turn to page ___ to find out the meaning of life.” Every time you turned to the page it listed, it would just lead you back to a different, answer-less page. I remember finding this trivial, just because (having gone to church every Sunday my whole life) I couldn’t understand why people didn’t know the meaning to life. Apparently I was the only one who knew it, and it was simple in my mind — to spread the word of the Lord.

OK, I know you’re thinking, “Yeah right… a devoutly religious eight-year-old. Sure.” But I’m serious. That memory stands out in my mind as one of the most significant points in my life. It was then that my naïve mind was opened up to a world of questions. I have always remembered that turning point. As the intellectual, theorizing and very inquisitive 19-year-old I am, I have yet to come up with any better answers to the meaning of life. This being said, I think the eight-year-old me had a good handle on what the most important thing in life is — faith. If I can’t fully use my old reasoning for human existence, then I can sure use it to help me find my own way and the reason for my existence.

As a first-year university student, I find myself constantly battling with choices — some on a minor day-to-day scale, and some that will have dire effects on my future. It has helped (to say the least) to put my faith in God and pray, pray, pray. Never have I felt my Catholic faith play such a role in my personal life — as a form of guidance, as a “shoulder” to lean on and as a means of clarity and serenity among the pressures and stresses of university life.

Using my faith and trust in God to help me find my own path in this world is all I can really do. I’ve come to many forks in the road and I’ve also travelled down some less than smooth paths, but with faith I know that I will be led in the right direction. I may fail sometimes (as we all do) and I may think that the corners of my life are folding in, but in the big picture, these are just minor hurdles. I know I will end up in the right place in my life and I will acquire a purpose in my life that could not have been achieved had I not trusted God and followed my heart.

God works in mysterious ways, and maybe we are too preoccupied with trying to find the “meaning of life” to notice the signs He gives us. Maybe there is no real “meaning” to this life, but just the curiosity to create such a question. Until I hear otherwise, I’m going to revert back to my eight-year-old mentality and believe in spreading the word of the Lord — because God knows, it’s helped me this far.

(Windsor, 19, studies journalism at Carleton University in Ottawa.)

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