In September 2017, Pew Research Center asked thousands of Americans where they find meaning in life. Family, career, money, and faith topped the list.
Now Pew has decided to publish 100 responses to the survey. Here are a few that caught my attention:
–Wow, what a terrible time to ask. I would have said my job until last week but we’ve gone through a surprise ownership change and I don’t know if I’m quitting / getting fired tomorrow! I guess what keeps me going is the surprising acts of kindness I see everyday in this city. A kid dropped and broke his toy on the train during rush hour and had a melt down. Strangers grabbed the pieces and worked together to snap it back together while the frantic father tried to usher his screaming child off the train so they didn’t miss their stop. The toy was fire brigade through the train to a grateful dad and a no longer screaming child. I’ve never seen that look of relief on a man’s face or a happier kid. That makes it worth it!
—I have two wonderful daughters. Both are very young and their innocence, joy, happiness, and absolute trust in me add such meaning and grant me a wonderful reprieve from more adult concerns. It’s easy to forget what’s wrong in the world when you are pretending to be a puppy with your daughter.
–Building a scale model trebuchet out of discarded lumber. I can do it, I know I can.
–My boy keeps me going although his mother is drunk and does drugs. I keep on hoping for the best. There’s more to this but yes I wish she would go away, that would make our lives better.
–I actually like my job, but it is all consuming and very difficult. I am a teacher. We are not paid enough and the resources for our students are limited. But I do enjoy helping them learn and there is some satisfaction in helping them succeed.
–What keeps me going is the idea of being better off than my parents were. I want to do better than my parents did. My parents tried their best with what they had and gave what they could to me and my two brothers. But, I want more. I want to get to a point in my life, not where I am rich, but I can go to the grocery store, the gas station, the movies, or go on vacation, and not have to worry about the amount of money in my bank account. I want it to be an afterthought. I am getting closer to this dream, and that is what is keeping me going.
–A group of friends and I do water aerobics several times a week, then breakfast afterwards. They have become close confidants and just fun to be with. I would be lost without them.
–Drugs and alcohol are the only shining rays of light in my otherwise unbearable existence.
–There are a variety of things happening around the world that the news never sees. Little things, like fixing the neighbors faucet or helping paint their house etc., and never stand around and brag about it. It is very satisfying to give of yourself and never expect anything in return.
–Being retired, I find I have time to spend with friends, to help my grandchildren and others. I’ve enjoyed traveling to visit family and friends. What keeps me going? My faith in God, the Creator of our universe, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but I know you will delete this last part.
–I like to help someone when I can and I like to go to church. I also like to play games on this iPad.
–My loving wife and family, my faith and church community, my various jobs, which I love. But most important is my relationship by faith with God through Jesus Christ and the understanding of purpose in life and knowing that there is life beyond this temporary world. I didn’t always have this hope so I’ve been on the other end of the spectrum with struggles of hopelessness, despair, depression, angst, etc. that was many years ago before I came to understand the gospel and learned what Jesus meant by living life to the fullest. I’m at peace with God and with myself. That helps with all the other relationships in life, which is a huge deal because life is not about stuff or status but about relationships.
–Worshiping Adoni!!! HE gives me PEACE confidence joy and hope. When I look at the crazy world I’m disappointed but know the Bible prophesied that it would be like this.
–I’m enjoying watching my three adult children become self-actualizing and persons of integrity and responsibility. I’m especially happy to be a part of the lives of my grandsons who give me hope for the future. I enjoy the companionship of my wife of 50 years. We’ve been through a lot, together, and we’re still best friends. And, I’m delighted to provide love, safety, and shelter for my little rescue dog, who, at the moment, is snoozing in my lap. This is as good as it gets.
–I retired from subbing this summer. I really miss the kids, but had to quit because of health. Our income taxes have built up and we are trying to pay these. We are paying bills from years ago, but interest gobbles up a lot of it up. Social security is too low so my aging husband is working.
Read them all here.