OPINION

Finding meaning in life during testing times

Remaining hopeful in very trying situations

Are you searching for meaning in life?

If so, you may want to read Man's Search for Meaning. Written by Austrian psychiatrist Viktor Frankl after he survived imprisonment in Nazi concentration camps.

The book points to the value of hope, love, responsibility to others, inner freedom, and appreciation of the beauty of nature and art.

You can imagine the importance to the Jewish Frankl of all these values as he struggled to stay alive in hellish conditions.

He used his experiences and the insights that resulted to write the book. In essence, he followed Winston Churchill's dictum: "Never let a good crisis go to waste."

Many of us now are experiencing our own daunting crisis in the COVID-19 situation.

We face the risk of illness from a nearly invisible virus - something half-alive - that can end our life.

To go along with that risk, we suffer social, psychological, and financial blows relating to government restrictions.

Whenever I see a newly now-closed store I feel sorry for the business owners who worked hard and had their hopes dashed due to the COVID situation.

Many other individuals have lost their jobs, been isolated from family members, or had stresses from home-schooling their children.

These are tough times, and a person might wonder about the meaning of life.

What Frankl wrote is still relevant, even though we do not experience the horrors of a concentration camp.

I continue to have hope for my future. This unpleasant situation will end.

I still love as much as ever because my family and friends have remained with me.

I feel a responsibility to help others. I help others learn, I do my best to help clients heal, I try to help the hopeless through contributions to charities.

I have a sense of inner freedom. The government tells me when and how I can get vaccinated and with what vaccine, but my thoughts and feelings -- parts of my inner life -- remain mine.

Do you join me in appreciating the beauty of nature and art? When I walk outside my home, I see golden wattles, daffodils, and pig face flowers. Spring is here no matter what else is happening.

I see magnificent temples and precious stones, although not in person. I see images of them thanks mostly to Facebook's presenting them to me, along with ads, of course.

Did Frankl learn something from his suffering that you can use?

This story Remaining hopeful in very trying situations first appeared on The Canberra Times.