Meaning and Purpose

“In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering the moment it finds a meaning.”

“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.”

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose ones attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose ones own way.”

Viktor Frankl, ‘Man’s Search For Freedom’. 

Viktor Frankl survived three years in Nazi concentration camps, and went on to become a leading philosopher and neurologist.

How do I choose my attitude? How do I respond? Sometimes I want to scream as my legs hurt when I stand, when I can no longer be the dad I was, when I watch my wife get me dressed, when I write my name, when I try to turn in bed, when I watch my wife doing so much to keep things going. I can choose how I respond, my attitude.

Within all the turmoil, I search for meaning, I search for purpose. There are times it is clear; there are others when all seems desperate.

I attended the Remembrance Day service at Kings Langley church today. It was indeed moving when the Scouts read the names of the local men who died in WWI and WWII. A long list. Then, outside, I drove the wheelchair to the War Memorial. Rather than looking on from the footpath, I was asked to stand with those laying the wreathes. Red poppies, the cross against the leaden sky, the eyes of the Scouts charged with responsibility, time for gratitude. Tea and biscuits afterwards. Community and warm people. 

Author: Andrew Knowlman

I am a 50-year old father of two children, married to Jane. I live in Hertfordshire, UK. I was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in April 2015.

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