The Meander of Life

The Meander of Life

Life is not a Roman Road, straight from point A to point B. Those who live it this way end up at point B but they see no difference between that and the point from which they started. What, indeed, is the point of that?

While not wishing to bring the logic of the American Constitution into question, we do have to ask whether the “Pursuit of Happiness” is a credible objective given that the happiness we all crave comes mostly from within us. ‘Internal pursuit’ is jolly good for the MRA scanner but a disaster for the navel-gazer. Odd that the happiest people I have known have seldom thought of being happy. They were just too busy living it, I suppose. It’s a bit like humility. Those who talk about it a lot, rather ‘proud’ themselves. And any sentence that begins “In all honesty…” should be a red flag of lies to follow.

Does the repeated use of ‘like’ actually hint at dislike?

No time to consider these niceties of existence? Of course – you are busy packing into every twenty-four hours as much enjoyment as you can. It seems the logical thing when you only have a hundred years or so to do it in. So what did they teach you that would be enjoyable when you were young?

I was taught music, though mostly not for enjoyment. And religion, though only to avoid going to hell. And reading to pass exams, and arithmetic (maths to you) to know the price of things. The most hilarious lesson was my sex education. The kindly headmaster detailed off to impart the mysteries of procreation to me confined himself to asking if I had ever seen my sister in the bath. He seemed unaware that several of his colleagues were rampant paedophiles and that I spent all my school holidays on farms.

The meaning of meander has changed in my lifetime. Literally, and for the purposes of this Daily Paradox, it means a curve or bend of a river or road. The idea that it is slow is a recent distortion. A meander can be torrential or gentle, just like life. Its distinguishing factor is that it creates bends, sometimes islands, always exploration. It searches the rough terrain as well as the smooth phases of our journey. It surprises, sometimes shocks, always imparts. To be useful it must be anticipated, savoured, indulged, analysed and remembered. When handled like this it is more precious than a diamond, more comforting than peace.

You don’t have to be idle to enjoy the meander of life. By all means remember, and practice, the advice “What is this world if full of care we have no time to stand and stare?” A hectically busy life can also appreciate its meander. A fireman in a major city was out most nights extinguishing blazes and rescuing victims. He regarded the ride back to the fire station as a time for reflection on what a privilege he had in helping people in distress. Once home, he topped it off with a cup of tea and his own version of a prayer – more a thought, really – for the hurt and deprived. His life meander was one of ‘gift and reflect’. More than glitter there.

So what is the purpose of describing The Meander of Life?

Well, maybe only to point out what a beautiful concept it is.

And how thinking about it really does help get to the point.

Good morning

John BIttleston

Your meander is your own.

You are always welcome to share it with

We help many people with their meanders.

25 May 2023