PURPOSE: IT’S THE GARDEN

by Hans Pitsch

Age 85. Cleveland Heights, OH

At age 85 the question of meaning in my life is urgent. The question of the purpose of my life is another matter. World War II and life in general have taught me that outcomes from our actions or in-actions are often totally unpredictable and random. When unexpected bad things happen, people say “everything happens for a reason” which is another way of saying, “suspend your reasoning”.

We may be saved from a bad situation by luck or with the best intentions create disaster. The fact that I am alive is an accident starting with the unlikely circumstance of my own and my ancestors’ conception, the survival in World War II, the fact that no disease has killed me yet.

I am thankful to be alive. I have a responsibility to myself and those around me to give meaning to my life from day to day. I enjoy my family (not all of them) and the shrinking number of old friends. You use the term “organizing frame” in one’s life. I am not sure if I want to be framed by an organizing principle, but if there is one thing that keeps me focused, it’s the garden.

Lots of plants died during the harsh winter but amazingly the clematises and the roses are back and lettuce spinach and tomatoes are thriving in the new greenhouse. The weeping cherry tree in front of the house succumbed to old age. I still have to plant a new tree this year.