We are considered living entities because we possess life, we are born and then we die. In between, we are able to breathe, eat, move, reproduce, excrete, and grow. Sometime in-between these activities, we are forced to ask ourselves what the essence of our lives is. We ask ourselves the big question – what is the purpose of our lives?
The Merriam Webster dictionary describes life as the period between the birth and death of a living thing, especially human beings. This implies that from the day a man is born, he begins to spend the time of his life living up to his inevitable death. Since the beginning of time, man has learnt how to create things that suite his needs and ambitions.
Several schools of thought exist on the meaning of life. Scholars of different epochs have attempted various descriptions of it. The great philosopher Aristotle had this to say – “Life is to serve others and to do good”. John Lennon is quoted to have said “When I was five years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked what I wanted to be when I grow up. I wrote down happy, they told me I did not understand the assignment and I told them that they did not understand life”. Still, Thomas Oden Jr. proposed that “If the essence of my being has caused a smile to have appeared upon a face or a touch of joy within your heart, then in living I have made my mark”. Edmond Mbiaka added that “the essence of life is not just to survive, but to also introduce your life to a very meaningful positive purpose”.
You will agree that although our inquiry into the purpose of life will never end, we are forced to accept our realities and make the most of it while we are alive. One of such realities is the most recent outbreak of COVID-19, a pandemic the world was unfortunately grossly unprepared for. The disease which started in one little corner of China has devastated several communities in terms of wellbeing and impacted the global economy in a way we never anticipated. For all we know, we might be confronted with the biggest recession in the history of the world. People everywhere are begging for redemption, most, afraid of the consequences of the pandemic especially with regards to how it affects their quality of life and standard of living. Sports and recreational activities have ceased, borders are closed, markets, religious houses, public places and major cities around the world are on lockdown. Prices of commodities have skyrocketed and the ordinary man is beginning to feel the heat especially in third world countries.
I dare say that with these calamities, mankind would have to learn a number of lessons. I believe COVID-19 is teaching us as humans something very important. It is teaching us that the value of life is really in its wellbeing. Life is not primarily about fame, money, power, position, authority and so on because none of these things has saved a soul from the dreadful disease.
However, before the pandemic, these were our daily pursuits. We thrived to gain materialistic possessions borne out of discontentment and greed. The Bible refers to this as ‘chasing the wind’, ‘vanity’. COVID-19 is a wakeup call for us to re-prioritize. To value the things that really matter: family, sound health, happiness and love. Rather than physical possessions, humanity and pursuit of peace and longevity. While we anticipate the worse in terms of economics, we must take advantage of our current limitations to bond with family and friends for indeed we will need them the most as we recover from the pandemic. It is also a good time to make sound health choices and begin a lifestyle that is refreshing and preserving for indeed, health is true wealth.
Our hope and earnest prayer are that COVID-19 pandemic ends soon. Also, we have learned to pay attention to the things which truly enriches our lives; family, good health, happiness and love for fellow human beings.