I watched The Pianist the other day. (Yes, I know I'm behind the times). If, like me, you've waited to see it, you might not want to read this post due to potential spoilers. Fair warning.
The fact that his passion for the piano in fact saved the main character's life got me thinking about how people survived concentration camps. Viktor Frankl wrote about this very phenomenon in his book Man's Search for Meaning. He said that people who were able to find some spiritual significance, some reason to persevere despite the horrors they faced, these people were the ones who had the strength to survive.
I've been thinking about that in relation to self perception and identity. Many people identify their spouses or their careers as primary purposes for their existence. The passion for who or what they love keeps them going. For other people, it might be a pet, or a hobby, or the pursuit of knowledge.
If your resources are many and/or your trials are few, perhaps nearly anything you select will be able to bear the weight of providing meaning to your life. Even money might be enough to get you out of bed in the morning. But if your supports are few and your troubles are severe, whatever you select as the reason to get up out of bed in the morning had better be able to hold up to some intense stretching and pulling. What will you do when you wake up and the money is gone, the spouse is gone, and the job is gone?
I don't often talk about my faith outright on this blog. This is one of those rare exceptions. I have to say I'm glad that my primary Source of identity and motivation is changeless, doesn't depend on my own good behavior or success, and is big enough to carry the weight of my troubles.