Dave Brisbin 8.16.20
Watching a spider hanging for days motionless in its web up in a remote corner of our ceiling gets me thinking about the purpose of a life lived only to keep on living. Obviously spiders have purpose in the ecosystem, but many people have been telling me during this pandemic lockdown that they feel caught in a Groundhog Day time loop, where every day is like every other, purpose and meaning falling away, depression taking their place. While it’s true that may of the activities that used to give us a sense of purpose whether related to work, church, sports, or entertainment have been restricted or eliminated, where does meaning and purpose really come from? Purpose that survives any difficult circumstance or loss in life?

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When Jesus is facing his own death, he shows us what he craves most in the garden of Gethsemane. He takes his three closest friends with him and asks them to be with him the way a child may ask someone to stay with them till she falls asleep. Jesus has lost a sense of presence and connection and longs for it as support for his purpose. His friends can’t stay awake; he feels alone, despairing, and terrified to the point of sweating blood. He has lost a sense of presence with his Father, expressed as the need to reconnect his will to his Father’s, and by the end of that terrible night he has done so. It’s presence that brought him back to purpose and meaning that would make the suffering overcome-able. And its’ presence that will make our suffering overcome-able as well. It’s all about presence. At least ninety percent of our spiritual journey is just showing up to presence, because our purpose and meaning is only and always found in our presence to each other. Without presence, a life is only lived to keep on living, and every day is Groundhog Day.

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