Val — Life must have a meaning and a purpose

The stock market crashes and crashes again. Credit markets freeze up. The current financial crisis shows how widespread banks, investors, home owners and companies have strayed from sensible fiscal management.

The world’s economic problems foreshadow a recession and financial turmoil that will affect the lives of millions. Dark clouds of trouble loom on the horizon. How do people cope when their lives have been uprooted by circumstances beyond their control? Here are a few ideas that you might consider.

Life has to have meaning and purpose. Life is more than a brief sojourn on this planet subject to the vagaries of chance. Our presence and identity goes beyond mortal existence. Morality is more than a social invention. Living true to one’s principles gives an inner peace that can come in no other way. Our integrity and decency count for something, now and in eternity.

We are special and there is a purpose to our experience. We are meant to grow and extend ourselves in ways we might not choose. The pain and suffering is part of a greater plan for us. We aren’t left comfortless. Prayers are offered and prayers are answered; though not always in the way we expect.

People in dire circumstances need to find a reason to hope. They need hope until all reason for hope is gone. People either live in hope or they live in despair. Hope gives us courage to take the next step in life’s journey, however painful it might be.


If we can laugh at ourselves, our foibles, missteps and adversities, then the pain goes away. If we can laugh at others and give them a benefit of the doubt, our judgments are softened. They are human, too. Nobody gets it just right.

A sense of humor gives us the ability to detach from unhappy circumstances and see them as temporary blips on the radar screen of life. The wisdom of age is that we learn that most stuff is small stuff and worth a good laugh.

Do we appreciate what we have instead of what we don’t have? Cultivate a thankful heart and life’s problems will be out in proper perspective. Gratitude isn’t looking over the fence at our neighbor’s life and comparing what we think we see with our own situation. Gratitude is looking at the richness of our own lives and recognizing the beautiful and positive parts of it that are already ours.

There is nothing to inspiring or ennobling about human beings as when they are racked with pain and misery and still find a way to be grateful for what they have and attend to the needs and happiness of others.

People who live with thankfulness don’t get mired in self-pity. There are many people in the world who live in poverty and find a way to be happy.

The surest pathway away from our troubles is through finding a way to serve others. If we learn to give generously, or our time and means to helping others, our own burdens are lifted. There are always people less fortunate than ourselves. When we turn our attention to helping others, our troubles shrink to a manageable size.

Loving others brings good feelings. Though love is freely given with no strings attached, the miracle of love is that love rebounds in unexpected ways. It is easy to love someone who is loving you.

Even when love isn’t reciprocated, the good people still benefit from them.


The family is the basic unit whereby we grow, learn, express our love and commitment, and live principles of happiness. Marriage and family connected with divine purpose gives us direction, comfort and hope. The family is one place to turn to for the nourishment of unconditional love.

During time of trouble we need deep understanding and comfort. We need soothing and encouragement. We need a confidant. We need a friend, within the family or without.

For the bigger troubles of life, we need a partner and confidant. We need to express our pain, confusion and fear — even our anger — and have an understanding heart to receive it without judgment.

If we are well armed with hope, gratitude, charity, humor and loving support, our spirit will break out from behind the menacing clouds of trouble and shine brightly on, ready for a new day.

For more information on stress and coping, visit Val Farmer’s Web site at

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