Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The most important thing

So I can't remember if I've blogged about this before or not, but if I have, I'm doing it again.  No one reads this consistently enough to mind, I'm sure.  (Except you, KP.  But your memory, well...)

In July of 2005, I made a road trip from Lexington, KY to Whidbey Island near Seattle, WA.  I took a video camera and I approached and interviewed complete strangers along the way (mostly at gas stations because my ex was opposed to stopping for any other reason... no really, after stopping to visit my family in Iowa, we made the whole trip in 36 hours straight).  I asked them all one question:  What do you think is the most important thing in life?  Now, my evil ex took and kept that tape and won't send it to me, even though it contains footage of the last semi-coherent moments I spent with my Grandma Ruth, who suffered from dementia for many years and has since passed away. (Everyone boo & hiss my evil ex now.  Thank you.)  Anyway, the result is that I have to rely on my memory of that trip.

Here's what I recall of the answers:

My Iowan grandmother said, "Well, for me it's always been home sweet home!"

Her husband, my grandpa, raised a very bushy eyebrow at me and said, "Did you hear what they did over in England?" (Referring to the London bombings.)  I nodded and he nearly growled, "I think we need to get back to Christianity."

My other grandpa said "Getting down to see my grandchildren once in awhile."  I think my other grandma made a joke about getting down to the casino along the way.

A gang of Harley riders near Omaha agreed the most important thing was friends and family.  "And Aflac," one said.  The rest laughed.

A middle-aged couple on a ferry boat on the way to the island said the most important thing was to care for the earth.

A lot of people said family.

Some said God.

A few said happiness or being true to yourself.

And one.  One very nervous young man from Mexico who was meeting his girlfriend's family for the first time that day and had joined them on their visit to the Badlands in South Dakota -- one person answered love.

Today I've been thinking again about my purpose in life, which led me to think about why we're all here at all, which led me to ask myself this question, again.  What's the most important thing in life?  To me it's still undeniably love.  So...where does that leave me?  I'm not really sure, but at the moment I'm wondering why I don't do stuff like this anymore.


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