My 11-year-old daughter is fighting warts on her feet and yesterday, in our car ride to go pick up her flute from the repair shop, she wanted to know more about warts:
“Dad, what are warts?”
“Warts are skin cells infected with viruses.”
“Yeah, but why do they get so big.”
“Well, the virus gets inside the skin cell, reproduces inside of them and then makes them grow faster and spread more of the virus. So the wart piles up on the surface of your foot.”
“But why do they do that Dad? What the heck is the purpose to do that?”
“Well, sweetheart, they are doing the same thing those weeds do, those trees do, the raccoons in the woods do and even humans do. They are just trying to replicate — to make copies similar to themselves.”
My daughter then became despondent. “Wow, life is meaningless. There is no point to life.”
“Hmmm,” I responded. “Well, if life was meaningful, how would life look different for warts, weeds, raccoons and us if we all had meaning?”
“So the only reason we live is to be happy, but there is no purpose?”
“But if there was purpose, how would a happy life look different?” I persisted.
“Hmmm,” she said, taking her turn to think. “Well, we wouldn’t die!”
“Ah, so when you say ‘meaningless’, you are just sad that we all die?”
“Yeah, I guess so.”
“I get that. It is a bummer.”
“So, I guess we just have to settle for trying to be happy during our life even though we know we’ll die.”
“Yeah, that sounds right to me, honey. Being happy sounds like a pretty good purpose. Just because we die doesn’t mean that our happiness is meaningless, does it”?
“No, it doesn’t. Being happy is good.”
- This post fulfills my “Roadkill Theology” criterion. See the post and take the poll. Readers are divided on the issue.
- My daughter proofed this post for accuracy. Then she kindly volunteered for the flute photo. (but the toe wart is from wiki!)