*This was an answer I gave to the local newspaper's question of what gives life meaning? It was printed several years ago.
In answer to the very profound question: "What gives life meaning?" I will answer in a very non-profound sort of way.
What gives life meaning to me is little dumb stuff.
My youngest son has autism.
I think about that a lot. I wonder about the meaning of it all. I wonder why him? I wonder about the future. I wonder if I will ever get to have a real conversation with him. Some days I get tired and I simply cannot find any meaning in this experience.
Today I forgot to search for meaning and it just came to me.
Happiness and meaning both are to be found within the little dumb stuff you do everyday.
I felt happy today and I will tell you why. I played with water guns. My son, Max, was painting outside at an easel on our deck. I had brought out a water gun to cool us off in the hot sun. I squirted Max's leg and he looked up in surprise and then said, "My turn." His utterance was huge for a kid who doesn't say too darn much during the course of a day. He took the water gun and shot me...right in the face. And it was fabulous! My older son peered out the deck door to see what we were doing and flashed a huge grin. He left to retrieve The Super Soaker. Suddenly there were these wonderful fountainous streams of water flying through the air. Max ran inside to get his umbrella to protect himself from this watery onslaught.
Picture my son Max squealing from beneath his lady bug umbrella deflecting the wrath of the Super Soaker. Me, hiding underneath a mickey mouse beach towel, soaking and dripping, bent over from laughing. And my oldest openly aiming for all things and people who still had dry spots, merciless and gleeful with his constant trigger finger.
I just forgot.
I forgot about my son's autism. I forgot about wondering if I do enough. I forgot about brow beating myself for not being a perfect parent. I even forgot about what a mess we were making as the water blasts were going into the kitchen and onto the floor from the open deck door. None of that mattered. There was no past, no future, just a sense of now.
It was totally spontaneous, unplanned fun. I received a gift today...of laughing with my kids...and forgetting myself and my angst in the process.
There it is.
No great profound thing. Just stupid little dumb stuff.
What is the meaning and purpose to life? To enjoy it!