10. At home here and now

Ted Grimsrud—Purpose vol. 44, no. 6 (June 2011), p. 28.

Where are we human beings meant to be at home? Is this life supposed to be “nasty, brutish, and short,” an unhappy sojourn as we head to a “better place”?

Or, are we meant to be at home in the here and now?

I think these questions are important when we consider our call to peacemakers. If we are indeed meant for being at home in this life in this world, that would add direction and urgency for our pursuit of peace.

In my reflections, I have been struck with an interesting perspective that I would like to raise for your consideration.

Think about our ongoing lives and these two questions: What are our most fundamental survival needs as human beings? And what elements of our lives give us the most pleasure? Notice that several of the exact same things are high on both lists. Our survival needs and our pleasures often go together.

We need to eat. Our lives, like other animals’, are to a large extent organized around our meals. We think in terms of working so we may “put food on the table.” At the same time, we love to eat. Most of us, when we think back to the times in our lives when we have had the most fun, find that these have often involved food. Our taste buds generally give us pleasure—as does the feeling of having a full stomach after we have been hungry.

We need to drink. We love to drink. Few pleasures are as intense as a glass of cold water when thirst is strong. We also enjoy many other beverages beyond simply satisfying our thirst.

Sex is pleasurable, and we don’t continue as a species without it. When we talk about our “sex drive” we do not simply have in mind some kind of need we feel to have children. We also know that the sex drive is linked with a “pleasure drive.”

As social creatures we need friendship to survive. Friendship brings us great joy.

The overlapping of our survival needs and our deepest pleasures tells us something profound about the nature of life. We are creatures who love the activities that keep us alive. Life is meant to be good. Our humanness is meant to be a source of joy. That tells us something about where should expect to find home.

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