But what does it take to lead a good life? What does it mean to be living well? Cultures have generally collected tips about living well in the form of reflections, stories and insights that provide guidelines to the next generation. The knowledge and art of living well is called Wisdom. Previous generations had the habit of passing on this wisdom from generation to generation. Our culture has lost this habit. Our elders don’t take the time to collect wisdom and our youth don’t take the time to listen to it. We expect to learn what we need to know from school or the internet and we rarely take the time to look back and reflect on whether it is working. So this is the reason for this new series. I hope to collect tips and insights from personal experiences and from others, and pass them on. Please leave comments on this or other posts and I will be happy to include your wisdom as well. Maybe together we can learn to live well and help others to do the same.
Priests see people at their worst. It would be odd if I went through a whole week without someone breaking down and crying in front of me. “Father, can I meet with you?,” people always ask. Chances are slim that they go on to say, “I’ve had a great week and I just want to tell you about the wonderful things God is doing.” No, instead it seems to always be, “My life is a mess and I need your help.” So a priest hears every different way that life can go badly. Sometimes life is a mess because of circumstances beyond a person’s control. But more often than not, the life we lead is a result of the choices we have made. So what kind of choices do we have to make in order to live well?
If you say that someone “lives well”, most people think you mean they are living a rich life. In the same way, if I say, “I ate well every night this week,” you will think I have been going out to eat, having lots of fancy foods and coming home stuffed. But “eating well” really means not “eating badly” – good, healthy foods in good quantities. In the same way, when I say “living well”, I mean living a healthy life full of purpose and meaning. It seems to me that healthy living includes being healthy physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally. In other words, a good life.