Existential Questions

Cloud Moon

Cloud Moon © Copyright 2015 Linda L Labin, PhD



Ruminating about life and its meaning (if any). The age-old existential questions: Who am I? Why am I here? Is meaning external, or internal? Does meaning truly exist, or do we create meaning out of the chaos? I love a good mystery, but it’s the not knowing that gnaws at me when I cannot sleep. Gnaws at me so that I cannot sleep. The yawning abyss, whether it be good or evil, awaits me, even in dreams. I do not fear death, for I have faced it several times and stuck my tongue out derisively. But I do fear the unknown, unknowing, unknowable.

Even my Christian belief does not free me. Sometimes, I wonder if belief of any sort is a panacea for our fear, nice stories to lull us to sleep, keep us docile and manageable. That last suggests a being or beings with intention and a need to control, but God does not NEED anything from us humans (we’re told). We have only someone else’s word that any of these beliefs is true. My rational brain wants to understand. Logic separates us from the plant world (I hope!). Blind, unthinking belief in anyone, anything, requires an unquestioning trust I am unable to give. I’d like to…

But life has taught me harsh lessons–that trust is too easily given and too easily betrayed. Our  My alienation follows from that irreversible fact. With every dawn, I meet the world hoping to align myself with the universe, optimistic in the sun, intending good toward all. At the end of said day, I mourn the losses uncountable except by me. We are flawed, I know. Yet, I wish it were not so. Having lived according to principles long-ago embraced–truth, justice, honor, decency, humility, and so on–I yet wonder if that was sufficient.

If suffering for one’s beliefs and principles is sufficient. If living by ongoing efforts to follow Christ’s example, yet failing almost always, is sufficient. If falling down and getting back up, crawling up that enormous mountain, pushing that boulder of despair up ahead of me, always and forever, is sufficient. I do not know. Robert Frost said that believing in God is like playing a high-stakes poker game where the odds are in favor of the house. How can we win? Everything is stacked against us. And yet we play. Because we must. No exit except through the funny house. If we’re wrong, only we pay the price of the ticket. Only we. Only I.

The poet concludes that living with belief is better than living with none, for it is belief in an Eternal Being that makes us live better lives. To trust that justice will be tempered by mercy because we tried…Yet, the silence beckons.

© Copyright 2015 Linda L Labin, PhD


4 thoughts on “Existential Questions

  1. To live as Christ lived is to take on the sins of the world in order to heal them. To live as Christ lived is to accept suffering as a means of transformation; one does not seek out unnecessary suffering, one simply accepts his share of it.

    In my faith, I follow Christ as a wounded healer.

    Thank you for a thought provoking post. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Reblogged this on This Troubles Me and commented:
    It is well, if writing about existentialism, to declare ones faith, and Dr Linda Labin tells us that she holds Christian beliefs. From her article it is clear that she is as much a leader as a follower in this regard. And she also manages to write the article without saying anything with which I, as an atheist, can take issue. It contributes to my understanding of the people with whom I appear to be sharing this world, and I recommend it whole-heartedly.

    Liked by 3 people

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