A Purposeful Life

“Our civilization lacks humane feeling. We are humans who are insufficiently humane! We must realize that and seek to find a new spirit. We have lost the sight of this ideal because we are solely occupied with thoughts of men instead of remembering the thoughts of the spirit. By having a reverence for life, we enter into a spiritual relation with the world, by practicing reverence for life we become good, deep, and alive.”       Albert Schweitzer

Every one of us needs to feel necessary, desired and worthy. Perhaps this is why we get moody, or depressed at times. So many days pass with feelings of worthlessness. Our existence is in question. How are we benefiting the world, family, friends or even one person. On those moody days we may have no answers.

I believe we all have needs, wants and definitely a purpose. Sometimes we are looking in the wrong places and just not seeing it. Purpose has to do with long term objectives, and we observe short term goals. That is why some of us miss our own merit. Not to rehash what was said many times, nor discuss the same issues, but because of our requirement of instant gratification, we can’t focus on the future. This in itself makes it difficult to grasp our significance.The young child who has been taught to love and share, influences every other child he or she comes into contact with. More communication has transpired in those fleeting playground moments, than we may ever realize. Kind words and actions go forward, but we don’t usually get to see that. If we were the parent who taught such empathetic skills, then we deserve a pat on the back. the ripple effect is massive.

The teenage boy who has been taught to respect women, and refuses to take advantage of an inebriated friend, but actually helps this person get safely home, is a blessing to society. We may never hear of such an act, because likely the young man will  never talk about it. We have done well. The young woman who gets involved in town causes, and volunteers her time and effort, has been well instructed. Where did her knowledge of helping others come from?

All the goodness and kind acts we observe in our kids, is really a pat on the back to parents who are instructing  in positive ways. As parents we just don’t believe we should bask in any of this attention. Yet when kids err, parents are often left holding the bag of wrongdoings. The wonderful things we accomplish with our kids, are making our lives worthwhile, to the point  of a celebration. Again one needs to view the ripple effect of our good deeds.

Any adult person who comes to the aid of another, at any given time, has brought huge meaning to their lives. Sometimes simply taking the time to speak with a neighbor, or sending out a friendly hello regularly, is uplifting. We can’t fathom the depth of our kindnesses. I know this is why so many of us don’t appreciate ourselves. So many people would not even recognize themselves, if their whole lives and good deeds were written down, and spread across a billboard. They might ask who is that person?

If we could open our eyes to the wonderful things we do every single day,  we would be shocked at how far the ripples of those kind acts extended. The reach can be so much further than we know. I am not saying we need to get slapped on the back for every kindness, but reviewing our day once in awhile, may give us an acceptance of our value. How can we be depressed if we serve such a vital function. All the little things add up.

Husbands and wives fight with each other, yet when they are sick or having a bad time, they support each other. Maybe we just expect this but actually, it is awesome of us to be the one they can lean on. Our kids need our attention when they are young, and we may have faith in our purposeful life. As kids mature, we may feel less certain about our place and worth. The truth is, kids like to have their parents involved, and interested in their well-being, forever. Who doesn’t like to feel special and important in someone’s eyes.

When our kids can complain to us about something, they receive our time and attention. We may believe they are “shooting the breeze” but possibly they are in need of a trusting person to divulge their heart’s content. Having faith in our own meaning in life is paramount. The time someone’s faith is low, and they are discouraged in their goals, is a crucial time for them. Our inspirational words and comforting expressions, may be all they need to continue forward. They may not call you up and say, “Well you cheered me up and now I am going back to finish college even if I am older.” Yet you have set them on a course that may influence so many other people just because you took the time to listen and respond with a kind heart . You gave them some needed faith in themselves. Look what you accomplished but will likely never know.

Some of us mean so much to others, that without us simply being around them, would hurt their lives. They need us in their corner, even if it is simply moral support. Without us they may not be able to fulfill the goals they set for themselves. We are not searching in the right places for our true worth. On any given day we can accomplish as many laudable objectives as we choose.

I remember the day I waited in a long line for ice cream. The person in front of me was angry and yelled at the waitress for the long wait. The waitress snubbed the man, quickly dumped the ice cream on the cone, and almost spilled it which further annoyed the customer. She slammed her window shut as he banged the counter upon leaving. I was up next and smiled sheepishly at the waitress. She appeared to relax, half smiled back and apologized for my long wait. I explained I wasn’t in any big hurry, and received a big smile. She returned with the largest cone, filled with ice cream. I smiled this time, and wished her a very happy day.

I can’t say how her day went but I know her mood changed, and that made me happy. I was apprehensive about her disposition when I approached, but upon our congenial interaction, she settled down. It wasn’t her fault for the long line. I realize this was minor, but then again was it? Without the release of some tension, might she have gone home and fought with the family? Was she dealing with major issues at home, and could this have put her over the edge enough to choose some harmful decisions? No one knows.

What I do know, is every day we have a choice, to fill our lives with meaning. Any time you help another human being, you have added a purpose for your life, as well as their life. It is those simple times that can make all the difference, of either breaking the camel’s  back or lifting some of the burden off of that camel. All one needs is to have faith in themselves and the rest is easy.

I don’t believe in keeping track of kind deeds. When we care we don’t keep a tally. My philosophy is if I can do something for someone I do it, no strings attached. Whenever I am the recipient of a kind deed, I consider myself fortunate, but I don’t ever feel that I must reciprocate. It is easier for us to get along with friends, because we never expect them to do anything. We are pleased when they do something for us. With family we expect so much, and we are disappointed when it doesn’t happen. Time to appreciate any small nice service done for us. Time to think about doing something kind even for strangers, without expecting a return. This will please all of us tremendously, and disappoint nobody. The ripples spread as far and as deep as the ocean. Now that is a purposeful life.

“The greatest tragedy in America is not the great waste of natural resources- though this is tragic; the biggest tragedy is the waste of human resources because the average person goes to his grave with his music still in him.” Oliver Wendell Holmes

“As soon as man does not take his existence for granted, but beholds
it as something unfathomably mysterious, thought begins.” Albert

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.