Morris was a celebrated and renowned FBI agent. He was proud to say that he “thrived in dangerous situations;” he felt “important.” He loved to travel the country and solve complicated mysteries, and he was very paid well for it. His huge home and accumulation of things were his proof of success, but according to him, they have lost their meaning. Now, at 82, he confines himself to his room depended on oxygen. He can longer walk without being short of breath, and his vision and hearing are failing. He feels he has no purpose; he has told us all he is simply “waiting to die.”
In our culture, most value and identify themselves by what they do or by what they have. Once we stop producing and accumulating, we can lose our purpose, meaning, and value.
Most have told me they find meaning and purpose in raising a family, growing spiritually, reaching career goals, exploration, learning new skills, creativity, giving back, and in being useful. Who are we when our children grow up, we retire, or we get sick and we lose the use of our bodies, eyes or ears?
When our bodies can no longer do for us, our task becomes how can we value being in our body and in the world. In our culture, we typically don’t value people who are being. What does it mean to be?