I am young. The older I get, the more I feel that life loses its universal meaning.
When I was younger, I felt that my life would make sense universally- that the thoughts that I had, and the picture of life that I held, would be understood by everyone around me. In many ways it was; the experiences that I had- first dates, education paths, moral choices- were easy to grasp by people around me and we could share friendship with accuracy.
Now that I am older, my experiences are less universal- and in many ways, this isolates me ideologically from others. The decisions that I make, the moves that create my life, are not understood by everyone. Where I live, what job I take, what I do with my Saturdays, hobbies, financial choices, even complex moral situations- these are some of the places in which my life doesn’t always make sense to those around me. This is because they have no shared experience with the complexity that goes into each decision.
Friendships are molded in the shared experience of life and hardened in mutual understanding.
When I can no longer rely on universal (or mutual) experience to shape the crevices that create friendships, I look again at my life and try to find the places of universality within it.
What is universal is the need for friendships and community. In a good way, we are stuck in relationships as social creatures. We are meant to commune with each other. But if I look at my life and find that shared experience is getting harder and harder to come by, then I might end up missing an essential part of my life.
So I have been searching my world to find an answer.
When, in my life, I am isolated from others due to lack of shared experience, there is one place that finds me in shared experience- Jesus Christ, and his loving church. There is a universal force outside of myself that gives meaning- this allows me to have true and meaningful relationships with people with whom I have no perceived common life.
I can, in Jesus, find meaning- a shared full experience of life with God himself.
I can, in the church, find friendships with people who share in Jesus- thus giving us universal experience.
As I get older, I think this will be a crucial for my life. I don’t want to be close to people because of golf, work, music, or proximity. I want to be close to people because of a true universal, meta experience, of something greater, more meaningful- Jesus, and his church.