Thanks for the advice! But 7.6 billion people are trying to do just that right now. The question is: how they are going about it?
Some are all out to get most fun out of life. Probably they have the money and time to do it. Others are trying to get a life by making the money they love and live for. Others seek to get it by getting high on something, such as drugs, drink or sex. Others get it by simply getting higher up the pile – power, fame and, why not, authority. Yet others get it by just accumulating stuff, any stuff – cars, houses, furniture, shoes, stamps, handbags…
Some are stuck on not letting go of the life they have got. Don’t rock their boat. Just stick to the system. It is the only life they know. Call them traditionalists, if you like. Others hang on to one side of a reality or belief and ram it down the throat of others, even at the cost of slitting open the throats they want to convert. Call them fundamentalists, if you like. Others are hell-bent on getting the life they want, when and however they want it. Nothing is sacred, everything and everyone is expendable – except the life they want to get. Call them liberals, if you like.
He did not come to get a life but to give it. It was and remains the only way of saving it
Others want to get a new life literally and physically at all costs. They have the science and the money to do it. So what should stop them from getting it through genetic manipulation, reproduction techniques, surrogacy or any other means? They must get a baby even if they are unable or unwilling to beget one.
Others go the opposite way. They want to live their own life by destroying the life they beget because it is going to prevent them from getting the life they want. So they simply declare the life they beget non-existent or not deserving to exist. They have a right to get the life they want with the body they have. Their baby is a non-starter!
There is one thing in common in all these efforts to ‘get a life’. They all see life as being somewhere out there that needs to be grabbed, bought or simply stolen. This infernal dynamic will inevitably and invariably lead to death. We all know that money, drugs, pleasure, wealth, power and sex are all prone to become deadly addictions if we allow them to take control of who we are. What you crave for inevitably takes over and becomes the grave of your illusions. You start as the master and end up the helpless slave.
Fortunately, one day, Someone appeared on our miserable, dying planet. He was the One who did not come to ‘get a life’ – He was the Life. He had the audacity to challenge the logic of worldly life that sees people only as winners and losers.
He did not come to get a life but to give it. He did not come to build an empire of wealth to reward the strong and mighty. He refused to be a winner. He came to give life to His broken, insignificant, wounded brothers and sisters. He chose to be a loser. He embraced pain because His love was stronger than death. He did not kill death. He simply injected life into it. All this by choosing to give His life, freely, totally, unconditionally. It was and remains the only way of saving it.
It’s reversing the logic of death into the logic of life. If we only changed the deceitful formula ‘Go get a life’ to the truthful one ‘Go give a life’, we can start tasting what life is all about. We will, perhaps, understand what the Risen Lord once said: “If you love your life, you will lose it. If you give it up in this world, you will be given life eternal.” (Jn 12:25)
May we taste the real life He won for us by His passion and death. Let us, like Him and with Him, become joyful ‘go givers’ rather than frustrated ‘go getters’.
Fr Paul Chetcuti is a member of the Society of Jesus.
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