Yesterday was Mother's Day, and my Facebook news feed abounded with glowing tributes by my "friends" to their mothers, many of whom have passed on to the Great Beyond.
I too am grateful to my mom, who, at 76, is not only still around but very active and vital. I'm grateful not so much for her giving me life, which has been a mixed blessing, albeit through no fault of her own, but for what she's gone through and done along the way to help me have as good a life as I possibly can under the circumstances.
You see, I wasn't a normal kid and I've never been a normal adult, and I know she must have worried about me all along and that she still worries, especially, about what will become of me if she dies before I do.
Judging from my Facebook news feed, many of my peers paid their warm respects yesterday to moms who are no longer around, but I'm guessing that most of those moms had fewer worries or, at least, less reason to worry about their adult children than mine has had about me.
But as grateful as I am to my mom for the sacrifices she's made for me and for the help she's provided at crucial times in my life, and as touched as I truly am by the tributes that others paid their moms yesterday, the thing that strikes me most poignantly about it all is a very famous line from a very famous play:
Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
I mean that I saw all these people posting about their moms who are either dying or dead, and I wondered, more even than I usually do, what it's all for. Girls being born, growing up, having children, working exhaustively hard to support and raise them, their children having children, aging into decrepitude, dying, and being honored on Mother's Day. "A tale told by an idiot."
I don't feel depressed as I write this. I'm just wondering, more than usual, what these cosmic eyeblinks of a lifetime of struggle, pain, moments of pleasure, and, if we're very fortunate, a modest sense of happiness or fulfillment toward the end of it all is all about.
I guess almost everybody finds a purpose or creates one of their own. Some people find it in just getting through the day, day after day. Many find it in embracing the doctrines and in carrying out the practices of their religion. Others find it in having kids, raising families, and being "productive members" of their society. Others, like myself, who live at society's fringes but aspire to do more than just live day to day, find it in reading, writing, thinking, learning, and connecting with others and trying to be helpful and good in any way that we can. And some probably find it in all these ways.
But, in the end, it still seems like a pointless process or, at least, one empty of substance or significance. Is it, or am I missing something?