You have, no doubt, heard of Robin Williams’ tragic suicide. I remember laughing at his antics in Good Morning, Vietnam! and Mrs. Doubtfire and feeling inspired by Good Will Hunting and Dead Poets Society. He was alternately hilarious and heartwarming, and the world has been robbed of one of its greatest comics.
It’s events like this that cause one to question a few things. I’ve thought about which celebrity I’d most miss if they died (probably Steve Martin), how someone with so much can feel they have so little (even though I’ve been guilty to a lesser degree of the same), and most importantly, how I should be spending my life.
Living to make people laugh is something of a dream to me. Growing up, I wanted to be a major league baseball player, but I didn’t have the talent and my eyes aren’t so good. Starting in college, I thought about being a stand-up comic. It just seemed like a great job to make people laugh. I still haven’t tried my hand at it, but I’m usually seen wearing funny t-shirts I designed and most of my facebook statuses are jokes. I love telling jokes to friends and family as well and being an absolute goober in front of my wife. So getting others to smile for a living seems like a life very well-lived to me.
But is it really? Is this what we’re here for? Can the spreading of laughter be the meaning of life? After much reflection, I am forced to say that I don’t think it can be. I think the dual-purpose meaning of life can be found in Matthew 22:34-40. A lawyer asks Jesus what the greatest commandment is, and Jesus tells him it is to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, but then He adds that there is a second commandment, to love your neighbor as yourself.
It’s true that spreading laughter is a form of love, but is it Christ’s love that is being spread or showed? And even if it is, is this really God’s calling on someone’s life, or just something that person is doing?
Years ago, God called me to write. For the first two and a half years, I didn’t take it seriously. I wasted time playing games, hanging out with friends, watching TV, and writing things that weren’t in any way Christian. Then I started writing the confidence book, but I didn’t work on getting it out. When I got engaged, I started taking the publishing process seriously, but it was for my glory and so I could support my wife; naturally, God couldn’t bless this effort. Then I gave up on the calling and chased the dream of a good job, big house, children, and a golden retriever. I’ve done some good things over the last six years, but I haven’t been following my calling, at least not in spirit.
There is absolutely no life that can be so well-lived as a life lived for God and in pursuit of His calling on my life. That calling, though, has to be followed wholeheartedly and not just when I feel like it or for my own ends.
And so I start over, at age 33, with only the lessons of my past to try to keep my from making the same mistakes in the future, a wife who loves me passionately and supports me unfailingly, and a God who loves me even more and has no chance of letting me down if I follow Him (2 Chronicles 15:2). Sounds like more than enough to me.