© 2022 WNIJ and WNIU
Northern Public Radio
801 N 1st St.
DeKalb, IL 60115
Northern Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
WNIJ Perspectives
Perspectives are commentaries produced by and for WNIJ listeners, from a panel of regular contributors and guests. You're invited to comment on or respond to any Perspective on our Facebook page or through Twitter (@wnijnews), in keeping with our Discussion Policy. If you would like to submit your own Perspective for consideration, send us a script that will run about 90 seconds when read -- that's about 250 words -- and email it to NPR@niu.edu, with "Perspectives" in the subject line.

Perspective: What's It All About?

courtesy of Lonny Cain

Life. What's it all about?

This question steamrolls over me now and then.

Alan Watts in his 1951 essay on finding meaning in reality said: “If the universe is meaningless, so is the statement that it is so… The meaning and purpose of dancing is the dance.”

Lonny Cain

I think I get it. Perhaps it's as simple as the small photo I hold. A photo that got me thinking about this life stuff. It was taken 28 years ago. A family reunion shot. Marking the day many of us we were together ... at least for a while.

That was many years ago, which is part of the ache I feel now. The pull of that question: What's it all about?

We huddled between great-great-grandmothers and babes in arms. All smiling.

Time has eaten away at the image. That happy moment. I count 33 people in the photo.

Then I imagine an X over some of the faces. Crossed off. Because they are gone now. Seven have passed. Still in the picture, but only as memories.

Then I realize I can wave this photo as evidence, and say, "This. This is what it's all about."

Call it family, I guess. Our small group linked with many other groups. Families everywhere. Bonded by blood and the chemistry that begot us. Adapting to the task of surviving.

I see survival in my photo. The natural flow of things. Generations. Families expanding. That's what it's all about. Propelling life.

"The meaning and purpose of dancing is the dance.”

And we are the dance.

I’m Lonny Cain … and that’s my Perspective.

Related Stories