This post, written by Kate Wiebe, originally was published on October 14, 2015, on our previous website.
Do your circumstances determine your quality of life? It's a question that Victor Frankl made famous through his personal curiosity, exploration, and championing. In considering a person's search for meaning, I want to consider here in particular quality of living. What determines it? What's it's source? Perhaps, as Frankl writes, quality of living is rooted in a person's sense of ultimately meaning or purpose. I think it's source also is in a person's senses of value.
What values are non-negotiable and inform your senses of what's most meaningful and purposeful beyond yourself?
I've wrestled with these questions for many years, and they surfaced again in recent conversations with friends and colleagues.
Topics of gun-control, not withstanding.
For example, a friend recently recalled a time when her husband and she were considering whether or not to have a gun in the house for protection. The conversation eventually came down to the fact that, at least for a brief time, they seemed to stand on separate sides of what was the ultimate goal of having a gun in the house. Essentially, they wondered together, did they want to protect themselves and their home or did they want the ability to kill someone, if deemed necessary? One felt strongly about the importance of having the ability to protect themselves and their home up to the line of ever killing another person, while the other felt that killing another person might be part of the overall package of having the ability to protect themselves and their home.
Their conversation shifted then to values, and, ultimately to the value of human life regardless of circumstances.
As with this conversation, I think a lot about personal values, outside circumstances, and quality of living. Mainly because trauma renders all of those concepts so raw and real – moments of reckoning I encounter frequently. Trauma begs the question: What determines quality of living?
In my mind, this is a critical question for ministers to host. Because the answer to this question informs the quality of ministries among congregations and communities that have been forever changed by trauma.
So, how do ministers host a question like this one?
Here's a couple ways:
– Encourage small groups and Bible study groups to consider these questions:
– Create a sermon or sermon series around these questions.
– Create a pastoral care tip sheet that encourages members in developing personal and family habits that enhance good quality of living.
Do you have other ideas? Have you seen other practices work well among your congregation? Share your thoughts in the comments below.