This morning, as I stretched out, a small boy lying fidgeting either side of me, I let out one of those grunting, half-yawning questions. Out it popped. I must have been having a heavy dream or something. ‘What is the meaning of life?’ Jesus. What a thing to slip out of your mouth at 6.30am. I don’t know where it came from. Am I really so concerned about the purpose of existence that it was the first thing my brain threw at me in the early light?
My two sleepy boys looked at me, blinking. We are in Wexford for the holidays. It is sunny, it is outdoorsy, it is full of resplendent flowers – maybe it is the meaning to life. I don’t know. I haven’t been writing this blog for the last four or five days because I took my sneaky writing hour to write a longer essay. It was a big long stinker about my 15-year dance with depression and my hope – my belief – that I have finally found a reliable route out of it by practicing meditation every day (among other things, of course. Nothing is a panacea). It was painful to write and my husband got the brunt of my crappy mood. Actually the boys didn’t fair well either. I was snappy and I lost my temper with one of them (the middle one.) It made me think: Sheesh. This writing lark – it can be joyous, yes, but it can also be an excruciating pain in the bum. It was as if, by writing this much longer piece, I took a huge greasy spoon, clunked it in down into the depths of my brain and gave everything a vigorous stir around. Flotsam was flying around in there for a few days. I was unsettled and disconcerted. Anyway; it’s written now and submitted to a magazine and I feel better that it’s done. Better out than in, as one of my meditation teachers taught me. (Perhaps the world might disagree with that if they read it).
So back to lying in bed this morning, snuggled up with my two boys, as the fragrant day lay ahead, out here in the country with the smell of the sea and sweet roses in the air. I don’t know why I needed to ask, the answer was clearly there in front of me. I didn’t expect a reply from either of them, but as they both lept up out of bed, the older one grabbed my arm then kissed me on the nose and said: ‘The meaning of life… is you.’