What does it mean to be alive? Is it breath? Growth? A steady succession of thoughts, feelings or actions? Scientists have no definite answer to the question. They say life is a process, not just a specific collection of materials. Bacteria, plants and humans all demonstrate radically different ways of being alive. So the question comes back to you: How do you define life? In many ways, the answer will come to define you.
For me, there is a dramatic difference between thriving and just surviving: life abundant and mere existence.
I suppose what I’m talking about here is a qualitative element of living — abundant life, not just a pulse.
Because life is a gamble. It’s an enormous risk to enter into this world, to leave the womb and take a breath. But here we are — the risk takers. The Living. The loving, risking, hopeful community of humans, breathing this air somewhere between the womb and the grave. We might have our eyes on the infinite, and yet we are bound to the present tense. Our lives are found only in this specific moment, only in this present passage of time. And in our mortality, we find that any of our greatest moments come only at a cost. There is risk involved. To love is to risk. To fight for what you believe in is a risk. To dare to change yourself or the world around you — it requires a commitment beyond the risk.
When we come alive we are stretched to become more than we were. When we come alive we are thankful for what we have. When we come alive we are bold in our love. When we come alive we gain a perspective that was lacking before. Because life is both a choice and a gift — we seek after it and it comes to us.
The meaning of life… Maybe it varies for all of us. But if the meaning of life cannot be answered by the scientists or the philosophers, then it’s up to the rest of us to define what it means to be alive. We, the living, answer that question every day — not with our words, but with our lives. Let us show what life means to us with our actions. Dreaming and hoping and reaching forward – we live our lives in the present, wide-eyed and expectant. Is life a dream? If it is, it’s a dream yet unrealized. The depths of this life have yet to be found. The highest peaks, the furthest reaches. Maybe abundant life has yet to happen. What does it look like when we come alive? Let’s find out.