The Four Ls of life are: to Live, Learn, Love, and Laugh. They embody a good, godly, and happy life.
From my own life’s “wandering and wondering,” I’ve reached one profound realization: Rather than loathe the present disappointments or be anxious about the future, it is more meaningful to just experience life, learn and grow with it every single day, and relish its pure and simple joys with love and gratitude.
In other words, the more meaningful way is to choose to Live, Learn, Love, and Laugh.
Choosing to Live
Choosing to live is not just to exist—as in “eating, working, and sleeping”—but to experience life’s joys and sorrows, ups and downs, opportunities and challenges, victories and disappointments. As has often been said, they all happen for a reason. Thus, we can draw meaning even from life’s worst circumstances.
Choosing to live is deciding to be in the present moment, not brooding over the past or being anxious about the future.
Choosing to live is opting to live a clean and healthy life which, appropriately put, is a “virtuous” life. The Greek philosopher Aristotle once said: “Virtus in medio stat.” Virtue stands in the middle.
Most importantly, choosing to live is choosing God to be present in your life. It is living a meaningful and purpose-driven life. As Socrates of old once said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.”
Choosing to Learn
Life, it can be said, is a constant work in progress; it’s a never-ending learning process from womb to tomb and beyond.
Even failures and mistakes in life are opportunities for us to learn and grow. As has been said, “Growth happens at the edge of our comfort zone.” Besides, failures do not exist unless you consider yourself as one, or you throw in the towel and give up.
That life is indeed a constant learning enterprise and that the human person has the unlimited potential to reach the unreachable is affirmed by my favorite author and educationalist, Paulo Freire, when he wrote: “Man, who is an incomplete being, and yet conscious of his incompletion, has the inherent potential for completion.”
Choosing to Love
Love is a fundamental human vocation. We are all called to love. From birth we have proceeded from God’s creative act of love. And we were brought into this world, not alone, but into a locus of love called family. Then with our transgressions, God delivered us through his redemptive love. And in the afterlife, we shall forever delight in God’s compensative love.
Amor est diffusivum sui. Love diffuses itself. In other words, it is the natural character of love not to be kept, but to be shared. As with the truism that “nobody can give what he does not have,” it is quite impossible for one to give love if he or she has not experienced love.
Experiencing the wonderful mystery of love is life’s one magnificent meaning. Thus, St. Teresa of Calcutta cannot be more apt when she said: “At the end of life, what is most important is not how many great things you have done or how many diplomas you have received, but how much you have loved.”
Choosing to Laugh
Finally, a meaningful and satisfying life is a life filled with laughter and smiles—with pure joys and gratitude for oneself and for others.
How many times, for example, do you have a good laugh by yourself in remembering priceless moments in your life? Or relish a smile on your face out of gratefulness for the beauty of nature or for whatever blessing you have received?
Laughing with others is experiencing the joy of being with others, cheering up not just yourself but others, too. This strengthens relationships, relaxes the mood, and signals that everything is OK in your group.
Choosing to laugh is an expression of contentment; it is practicing the virtue of gratefulness. And gratitude, which, according to Cicero is the “parent of all virtues,” is a veritable wellspring of blessings or good things that come your way.
In sum, the more meaningful way is choosing to embrace life’s unfading beauty, and be open to constant learning and growth, unceasing love, and lasting happiness.
Bob Acebedo writes a column in the weekly OpinYon (http://opinyon.net). —Ed.