Skip to content

Meaning and purpose, laughter and love, who’d want to stay in bed!

Quite often as a child Zena would look over at me and with a twinkle in the eye say, “Damien, my get up and go has got up and gone!” Sometimes this was code for ‘can you put the billy on’ or ‘can you prune the lagerstroemia’ or sometimes was just her having fun. Zena loved her sayings and her days as a girl at the Ursuline Convent in Armidale were rich in poetry, plays, song and adventure. Mum often spoke lovingly of her time there. One of her prized possessions was her scrapbook of sayings, quotes from famous people, simple poems and prayers.

You may recall my quoting the famous General of the Society of Jesus, Fr Pedro Arupe. This wonderful Spanish priest once said,



Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in love, in a quite absolute, final way.

What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.

Fall in love, stay in love. It will decide everything!

I really love that! “Fall in love, stay in love, it will decide everything!” I can remember as a young Brother having a discussion once and the topic / question was, “Is love a feeling or a decision?” I was vehemently on the side of decision. Sure, layers upon layers of feelings – but ultimately a decision. Mum and Dad, loved one another deeply but, they both, individually and as a couple had many hard times. Theirs’s was a decision to ‘get out of bed each day’ and ‘do what needed to be done’! Theirs’s was a decision beyond the immediacy of feelings. Theirs’s was a decision to love in spite of fear, financial struggles and confusion. Sure, there were the good times, many of them – thousands of them. But ultimately they made choices daily to be there for each other and for others. They took the Gospel of Jesus deep into their hearts.

What drove Zena and Frank was a profound sense of meaning and purpose. Both Nelson Mandela and Alexander Solzhenitsyn in their biographies say that people can withstand any pain or struggle if they have a ‘why’. Mandela’s years on Robin Island and Solzhenitsyn’s years in a Russian Gulag in Siberia both were extraordinarily difficult; physically, emotionally, psychologically. But both men emerged from these years more free, more human, more loving. They had a ‘why’, a purpose – they found meaning in the midst of pain.

Life is not about rushing from one feel good fix to the next. Life has its good days and its not so good. Life is not about continually winning or growing stronger or winning the accolades of all who pass by. Life is really quite simple. Getting up each day, being faithful to your dream, leaning in to one another and framing all that you do and are by your passions, your meaning and purpose – the ‘why’ that gets you out of bed in the morning. Amidst all of this, as on all journeys, there will be some laughter, some tears, all wrapped in love – in the thousand guises that it will tickle you each and every day.

Yes, get out a piece of paper and write on it, “Fall in love, stay in love, it will decide everything!” Then attach it to the back of your bedroom door – then get on with living courageously, authentically and lovingly! You will be amazed at the bounce in your step, the twinkle in the eye and the peace in your heart.

1 thought on “Meaning and purpose, laughter and love, who’d want to stay in bed!”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *