Over the past days I’ve written about Dad often and thought of him even more. As luck would have it I’ve had several different thoughts combining in my head at the same time.
My mind and soul are still feeling rocked from reading Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl for the first time. Hearing his story of survival has had a very profound impact on my thoughts. I’ve already started re-reading it with a highlighter and sticky bookmarks. If you haven’t read this book yet I would highly recommend it – especially if you are struggling to find meaning in the current challenges we’re all facing.
As mentioned a couple of days ago I’ve been writing my book again. I’m not sure, but I think Frankl’s book helped me re-fuel the reason behind it.
In the past few days I’ve been seeing a combination of these concepts and my personal experiences starting to gel into a cohesive whole. When I try to picture the concept in my head I have a crystal clear image. It is so vivid I can reach out and touch it.
What is that picture? This:
This is a nurse log. In an old growth forest when a great tree falls it can often turn into a nurse log. As it lies on the forest floor and decomposes it becomes a source of nutrition, sustenance, and safety for new trees. As the new trees grow the nurse log slowly fades into nothingness. Its presence is still very much known. When one looks through the forest the right way they’ll notice an odd natural occurrence… a long line of trees of about the same age in a perfect row.
The tree sprouts, grows, endures, falls, nourishes, and fades in the history of the other trees.
As I think about our purpose I can’t imagine a more fitting way of expressing the concept of the purpose of life. Grow, learn, share our light, love, and joy, nourish those coming after us, and then fade away.
To be clear, I believe there’s something beautiful waiting for us after we fade away. What’s interesting is that when sitting amongst these lines of trees that grew out of the same now non-existent nurse log if you listen with your soul… shh… quiet your mind… shh… let your soul listen closely… you can feel the presence of that once great tree. This sense of peace, serenity, and completion of purpose is truly awe inspiring.
Where am I going with all of this? We owe it to those who came before us to share their joy and light. We owe it to ourselves to let our light shine bright. We owe it to others to help bring more light and joy to their lives. We take all we’ve been given from others and share it with others to help those who come after us grow and live a more joyful life than us – and help them find their purpose on their own as well. Once that is completed we move on. How beautiful it would be to fulfill that purpose?
Bonus for those of you who’ve made it this far 😉
This quote was in the forest in which I first learned about nurse logs. Edwin Way Teale hit the nail on the head much better than I could’ve ever hoped to. It’s only now after almost three years that I’m starting to understand this on a much deeper level.
“For a great tree death comes as a gradual transformation. Its vitality ebbs slowly. Even when life has abandoned it entirely it remains a majestic thing. On some hilltop a dead tree may dominate the landscape for miles around. Alone among living things it retains its character and dignity after death. Plants wither; animals disintegrate. But a dead tree may be as arresting, as filled with personality, in death as it is in life. Even in its final moments, when the massive trunk lies prone and it has moldered into a ridge covered with mosses and fungi, it arrives at a fitting and noble end. It enriches and refreshes the earth. And later, as part of other green and growing things, it rises again.”