Humans are social animals and so it comes as no surprise that we desire relationships and that we thrive when we are surrounded by people we care about.
In the course of our lives we are involved in a myriad of relationships. Our first are with our parents and members of our family.
Then we make friends, and finally, if we are lucky, we find someone to love. The relationships we have with our family and friends help us feel connected, vibrant, and alive.
The problem is that no relationship lasts forever. Either someone moves away, or we move on or someone dies. As much as we might like our relationships to stay the same, they are always changing and always evolving and at some point, always ending. That is just a fact of life.
Some people might find this depressing; to think that our relationships are all eventually going to end. For a Humanist, we view it as a call to action.
We understand that our relationships are fragile so we do our best to honor and nurture our relationships in the present because we know, at some point, there will be no more moments we can share.
If we don’t enjoy our relationships while we can, or if we take our relationships for granted we will, at some point, be forced to admit that we missed out on them altogether.
One of the first individuals to “preach” Humanism in America was a UU Minister named John Dietrich who wrote, “If we live in a great impersonal universe with no friend to guide, it matters tremendously how we conduct ourselves.”
I like this quote because I really do believe that how we choose to treat each matters greatly. If it turns out that this life is all there is, then the only way we have to find satisfaction and meaning in our lives is through our relationships with others. For a Humanist, how we choose to treat each other is everything!
I realize for most people the belief that you will see your loved ones in heaven is a source of great comfort. We Humanists feel that it is much better to live our lives without regret in the first place.
We never want to find ourselves saying, “I should have spent more time with my friend. I could have if I had just made the time. And I would have if I had known that our time was short.” As a result, we choose to actively and openly appreciate our loved ones in the here and now.
Your relationships matter. Nurture them, appreciate them and enjoy them, while you still can.
Jennifer Hancock is the author of the book, the Humanist Approach to Happiness: Practical Wisdom. She can be found on the web at www.Jen-Hancock.com