Don't Till da Tittens
by Gayle Johnson
The arrival of two barn kittens at our house was a heady occasion for my youngest son, then three years old.
My mother watched him during the day while I worked. I arrived home one evening to my son announcing,
"Grandmama said dat my job is Don’t Till Da Tittens.”
I hunkered down close to him and said, “That is a very good job to have! You have to use gentle hands, right?”
Fast forward to yesterday, the industriously employed three-year-old is now nine. For our homeschool history lesson, we were discussing the migration of early hunter-gatherers out of Africa and throughout the world. I explained to my son,
“Their whole job was to hunt and gather food. If they weren’t good at their job, they died.”
If modern humans aren’t good at their day job, they don’t usually die. They look for another job or seek another career or get to retire or find another human who is willing to make sure they don’t die. We get to live much, much longer lives, with to be less and less meaning. Showing up and shutting up at a desk for 2,080 hours a year isn’t the meaning of life.
Life - to exist. I wonder if the hunter-gatherers ever had thoughts of existential crisis? “Why am I here, ugh, if I kill one more rabbit, I will just die of boredom.” Or was the idea of having the next meal to eat enough to fulfill their need for meaning? Did hunger drive them to succeed? The goal of survival was enough to keep them going emotionally? Did they think of it as work or existence?
My son had dozens of questions for me about the hunter-gatherers such as,
“Where did they poop?”
“How could they walk so far?”
“When we die can we talk to those people in Heaven too?”
My questions for me kept returning to my recent thought processes about divine destiny.
What is my job? My day job is pleasant. My divine job is much more complicated. Why do I live? How do I live?
For now, I have decided that my job is to keep asking questions.
“Those who have a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how'.” ~Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning
Images courtesy of Gayle Johnson
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