About: In Search of the Meaning of Life (An Autobiography)

http://insearchofthemeaningoflife.com/

In Search of the Meaning of Life (An Autobiography) 

(Copyright 1994, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Preface

As I sit here in 1994 to begin telling the story of my life that I call In Search of the Meaning of Life (An Autobiography), I begin to trace this one common thread of searching that has remained constant in a life of adventure.  My life has been a mosaic of many independent events that on face value appear to have nothing in common, that is, when viewed from the outside.  One must always remember to avoid drawing conclusions from appearances alone.  When I view the events of my life from the inside, there is a great consistency and commitment to this search for meaning in my life.  It is no small miracle that I have survived my adventures to this day to be able to tell my story and it is by the grace of God alone that I’ve reached this point in my life to share my hopes, dreams, journeys and adventures with you.

This book is really for our son, David, when in 1994 he had begun to ask me to take him on adventures.  Real adventures, like to the tops of mountains and through the forests as he would say.  It must be in the genes.  I told him that we will begin real adventures soon enough. What he didn’t realize at the time in 1994, was that he had already been on an amazing adventure – as he and Esther followed me around the world in the United States Air Force.  David grew up learning both English and German, attended a German kindergarten, then a British nursery school and primary school, followed by a German elementary school and then British lower, middle and upper schools before finally attending an American high school.  This book is for David, so that he can know where his parents have gone before him.

My journeys and adventures officially started the day I intentionally stepped off the well-worn path of life and onto the path less-traveled.  It was a deliberate and calculated decision and my life has never been the same since.  It has not been an easy life, for once the comfort of the path well-traveled is left behind, there are few signposts to follow and no maps to guide you.  Uncharted territory as they say and not without its pitfalls, danger and misfortunes.  I often wondered if this path would ever lead me back to the safety and comfort of the familiar again.  In some ways it has and in other ways it hasn’t, but this adventure I began in 1976 has never really ended for me over all these many years.  I will be traveling this path less-traveled in my continuing search for the meaning of my life right up to the very end.

In my quest to search for and find the meaning of my life, I’ve narrowed the focus down to a simple statement:  The search for the meaning of life is a personal quest to determine and fulfill God’s will for us through our lives.  The greatest question of all is the one that simply asks: How will we come to understand God’s will for our lives? The answer that has guided me is:  We must listen.  Listen to the small, quiet voice of your heart speaking to you in the stillness of the night.  Pay attention when your gut tells you something just doesn’t quite feel right.  Trust your instincts.  God’s ways aren’t our ways, so you must trust that He will make His will known to you.  God will speak to you through the people, events and circumstances of your life – but you must listen, perceive, understand and act on what He’s telling you.

Of course, the easiest way to travel through life is to not listen to anything or anyone but yourself – believing in your own will so strongly that you can’t understand what God’s will is for your life.  In that case, you will have lived your life without His guidance.  Just as a fast-flowing stream changes course and direction, your life may, too – without understanding why.  However, in time, the events and situations of your life will explain why things have happened as they have.  As long as you listen and pray for God’s will to guide your life then you, too, will find yourself stepping off the path well-traveled – as I did, so many years ago.

I would like to thank Esther and David for their perseverance with me on this journey and for all the people that have helped us along the way.  To the many people who have helped me through the difficult moments of my life – you know who you are – I thank you from the bottom of my heart!  To those who I will someday share this path less-traveled with – welcome to the journey – and may God bless us all, each and every one!

~~~~~~~~~~

In Search of the Meaning of Life (An Autobiography)

(Copyright 1994, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Introduction

I couldn’t really explain it when I was growing up, but I wished there would have been some sort of guide I could read that would have broadened my choices in determining the course and direction of my life. Life seemed so programmed, restrictive and predictable – kindergarten, elementary school, junior high school, high school and college.  I felt straight-jacketed by the whole process and progressively funneled down an endless hallway leading to a destination that wasn’t of my choosing.   This entire process felt automated and confining – like a widget being processed along a conveyor belt or being prodded down a cattle chute leading to an unknown and undetermined outcome. Life seemed to be all about the process of conforming,  as opposed to being all about journeys, dreams and adventures – which were never classes listed on my course schedule.  The crux of the problem was that I wasn’t enjoying life while growing up and couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel to give me hope and encouragement.

In the 6th grade, my friend Dan introduced me to J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy and it opened my imagination to a world of possibilities, but none of them were real-world options I could pick and choose from.  Once the notion of journeys, dreams and adventures germinated in my mind, there was no turning back.  The singular notion of Bilbo setting out on an adventure through The Shire never had a real-world counterpart or option that had been presented to me in school or in my life up to that point of time.  I realized that if there was to be an alternative way – I was the one who would have to find it.  The dilemma remained, however, as J.R.R. Tolkien’s books were works of fantasy and I had to somehow find a way to apply the concept of journeys, dreams and adventures to my life in the here-and-now of the real world.

My idea of a guidebook to help explain life in a very generic and commonplace way never left my consciousness over the decades and I hope that in some small way In Search of the Meaning of Life (An Autobiography) will serve that purpose for anyone searching for meaning in their lives.  If I’ve learned anything in life, it’s that all things are possible and there’s always another way from Point A to Point B when asking oneself ‘What am I going to do now?’  The world is a very big place and the options for your life are endless.  All you need to do is remove the blinders everyone puts on you – family, friends, school, religion, community, culture, etc. – and broaden your horizons in the search for what your heart really desires for your life. In that way, you make the call and the decision as to what you want do with your life and not let others make that all-important decision for you. You only have one life to live, so follow your heart and live the life of your dreams!

I began writing my autobiography by hand as my New Year’s resolution in the early days of January 1994, because I began to see the events of my life not as stand-alone events, but as a singular journey with an overall context and purpose that had eluded me up until that point in time.  I finally began to see all the twists, turns, journeys and adventures of my life following a circuitous pathway that I had traveled my entire life.  It was this path and the sum total of my experiences – both good and bad – that had led me to the point in my life that I began to put pencil to paper and write my story.

After all these years, In Search of the Meaning of Life (An Autobiography) finally has its own home on this blog.  It is my hope and prayer that the telling of my story will somehow help you live your journeys, dreams and adventures, too. We only have one life to live, so it deserves the best opportunity and chance for success we can give it to make our hopes and dreams come true!  So, follow your heart…for only your heart knows for sure the pathways that will lead you to your heart’s desires!  Enjoy!

Cheers!

Mark

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