So I've missed two trains so far this morning. It's been totally worth it. Why? Because around 6am, I got a direct message from a friend on twitter. They needed my help. The particular what that my friend needed doesn't matter, and it's private. But they were struggling with their feelings, their decisions, their perspective.
So they sought me out.
We tweeted back and forth until I had to take my shower, and then as soon as that was done, we got on the phone.
First train missed.
While I was on the phone with friend 1, a second friend texted me, struggling with their own heavy thoughts about their own heavy issue. I texted with them at the same time as I talked to my first friend! (Who says I can't multitask?) Eventually though, I got my first friend in a good place about their feelings and actions, hung up with them, and got on with my second friend.
Second train missed.
Didn't matter. We talked for a while, and I helped them get to a better place about their stuff. As I'm writing this, I'm working myself right out of missing a third train.
Still doesn't matter. (There's a last train I can catch, so that's okay - or I might even drive.)
Why none of this matters is because of something I know, something about me. Helping others is a large part of what makes life worth living, to me. It's part of my purpose, part of my meaning.
I helped raise my first wife's son from her previous marriage for around 8 years. I loved helping him learn to read. I took great joy in taking care of him. We did homework together. He had a horrible relationship with his biological father at the time. I made it a priority to be the best stepdad I could be. It made me very happy to do so.
This stuff this morning, it's the same. Helping others is part of my root meaning for living.
There's a school of therapy that resonates strongly with me because of these ideas. It's called logotherapy. It was developed by an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist named Viktor Frankl. I learned of it from his book, Man's Search for Meaning. (Do read it.)
The basic concept behind it is that the primary motivational force of an individual is to find a meaning in their life. It has some basic tenets too. Life has meaning, no matter how bad one's life is. Subconsciously, our driving purpose is finding that meaning. We have the freedom, power, and choice to find our life's meaning in the things we do, experience, and even suffer.
In his book, Frankl said how we go about discovering our meaning:
"We can discover this meaning in life in three different ways:
(1) by creating a work or doing a deed;
(2) by experiencing something or encountering someone; and
(3) by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering"
Furthermore he added that "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances"
THAT is why it doesn't matter that I missed a few trains, or that I'm going to wind up working out for lunch. Because I know, in my heart, that being of service to others when and where I can is one of the defining meanings of my life. I'm grateful for it.