“Each of us is questioned by life; and each of us can only answer to life by answering for our own life.” Viktor E. Frankl , Man’s Search for Meaning
Talk about “meaning making.” Dr. Viktor Frankl was a Holocaust survivor who came to understand that all of life—including life in a concentration camp—puts forth the possibility for life to be made whole. In many ways, this wholeness emerges in responses to our choices, even if our choices are limited by circumstances (like suffering imprisonment, losing every loved one in your life, or other unspeakable harm).
In such a case then, one’s choice is the option to grow and be something more than who s/he is today or to stay focused on current ways of being and knowing in order to survive. No one can stop us from new growth, unless we give our permission. No one can stop us from making meaning in our lives unless we allow them to do so.
- Failures of the past or present, rather than stealing meaning, create NEW meaning as we use our new information to discern the path that is laying itself before us in this new moment.
- Wounds that we bear, rather than create victims; create heroes with hearts of strength who choose to forge ahead despite all odds.
- Challenges we face encourage us to remember that we can’t do it alone—we need help. Even as we step toward new horizons of meaning, we are walking with others as they do the same.
THIS is the privilege of being a pastoral counselor: Even as we seek to make meaning in our own lives, we are graced with the privilege of accompanying others as they make meaning in theirs. In this process, my life is changed. In this process, the lives of others are changed. In this process, our lives together are changed.
And therein the world is changed.
Now there’s a super power I can get behind. My life’s journey isn’t about questioning what is happening to me. Rather, life itself is questioning me about how I plan to engage my existence.
I’d love to hear about your super power. Whether it is invisibility, flying, million dollar metal suits, or “meaning making,” what are your super power’s effects on the adventures of your life?