We hang plaques on our walls to inspire ourselves to be what we aren’t, or to conjure traits we wish we had. But if it truly worked, the current popularity of “Live, Laugh, Love,” should have resulted in more people Living, Laughing, and Loving. Instead, we see an epidemic increase in suicide, depression, and divorce papers filed with the US government.

Why isn’t it working?

I spent most of my life striving to embody positive traits. Truthfulness, goodness, self-control, happiness, kindness. Yet equally as long, I’ve been haunted by my inability to do away with inner darkness. I’d look at happy people and try to be happy, but the harder I tried, the more unhappy I’d become, because I’d quickly realize that my efforts were devoid of power.

“Vanity, vanity. What does one gain by all the toil…?”

Popular culture has always drowned truth in cuteness, and hidden morbidity in cleverness.

To hang a plaque saying, “Live, Laugh, Love,” on your wall and expect it to mean something is akin to beheading your dog, nailing his body to the wall, and calling him Sir Barks Alot. When your neighbors visit and you sigh reminiscently and call Sir Barks Alot, “Such a good dog,” they will have no basis for knowing whether that dog would have bitten them or wagged its tail at them.

In the same way, a serial killer could adorn his bedroom with, “Live, Laugh, Love,” and be perfectly right in doing so. After all, he Lives to kill others, Laughs at people’s pain, and Loves to shed blood.

The point is that, “Live, Laugh, Love,” is one of the most vapid expressions ever uttered by human lips. It’s the signs of life devoid of actual life. Gazing upon the words, “Live, Laugh, Love,” might bring a smirk to your face at 7:00am when the sun is rising, but it imparts none of the power to actually Live, Laugh, Love when the shadows press in.

We cloister ourselves in the halls of learning to strive toward intellectual greatness. We confine ourselves to a cubicle for 33.3% of each day of the week to achieve that ghostly title of success (or at least civic responsibility). We labor day in and day out to hone our artistic skills and achieve popularity and notoriety.

“Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.”

The central question every human being must, at one point or another, wrestle with, is, “Why do I exist?” Everything, from the mundane to the profound, rests on the fulcrum of philosophy.

The problem with, “Live, Laugh, Love,” is that it perpetuates the philosophy that our purpose for existing is self-fulfillment. We Live for ourselves, and that makes us happy. We Laugh because that brings enjoyment to Life. And we Love because Love is everything, right? Love fills Life and Laughter with goodness.

Only it doesn’t work because the whole basis of that philosophy is wrong. We’ve severed the proverbial head from the body.

An animal’s body only moves with power when it receives commands from the head. In the same way, we can only Live, Laugh, and Love, if we first find ourselves connected to, and driven by, our proper head.

So what is it? If we don’t exist to be happy, why are we here?

After all my searching, what I found through both personal experience and objective examination is that our purpose for existing is to worship God.

“Blah, blah, blah. Now you’re getting all mystical.”

But if all of life truly rests on the fulcrum of philosophy (i.e. “Why am I here?”), then we shouldn’t be afraid of religion, because religion is philosophy with a source. What else could possibly answer the question, “Why am I here?” in an objective way besides philosophy with a source? We need some place of origin, because a line can only exist if it first has a point of beginning.

So where do we begin?

There are no truly intellectual answers to, “Where do we begin?” The answer most favored by the intelligentsia is, “Life is meaningless,” but that’s as nonsensical a response as any. “The meaning of life is that there is no meaning,” is an oxymoron. A non-answer.

The answer to, “Why am I here?” can only be found through faith. You have to believe. If that makes you uncomfortable, welcome to the human race.

“But what is it I have to have faith in? What do I need to believe?”

That God is the purpose for your existence.

When I finally put my faith in that truth, when I finally believed that my purpose for existing was to worship God, not to be happy or successful or good, my entire life was flipped upside down. I’m not just talking about my perception of life, but the actual outcome.

When I dedicated myself to prayer and worship above all else, for the first time in my life, the darkness was routed out of me, and I found myself immersed in perpetual joy.

That’s not to say difficulties still didn’t come my way, but for the first time in my life, I was actually able to Live, Laugh, and Love with true power. Not just in seeming, but in reality.

The reason, “Live, Laugh, Love,” doesn’t help us Live, Laugh, Love, is because it is outcome separated from source. We would do much better to replace our, “Live, Laugh, Love,” plaques with, “Kneel, Pray, Worship.” But that would never be popular, would it?

“Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, ‘I have no pleasure in them’; before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return after the rain, in the day when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those who look through the windows are dimmed, and the doors on the street are shut—when the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low— they are afraid also of what is high, and terrors are in the way; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along, and desire fails, because man is going to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets— before the silver cord is snapped, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher; all is vanity. . . .

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.” –Ecclesiastes 12:1-8, 13-14

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