I went to a catholic high school and often times, in our Theology classes, our teachers would preach the importance of finding our callings in life. The nuns that taught me emphasized how they were called into the life of being a nun. One teacher taught that once we found our calling we must then spend a certain amount of time each week helping others by utilizing that calling.
I always thought this was an interesting way of looking at life. I wondered if it were true that each person was meant to do something special to contribute to humanity as a whole. As I age, I find it difficult to believe that some dude who controls the entire universe has dictated how each and every tiny creature is to spend his time.
Still, the idea of leading a purposeful life intrigues me.
I’m not sure writing is something I am called to do as much as it is something I found is meaningful to me after I started doing it. But, a lot of things have meaning and I do those things as well. I’m not convinced there is one thing we, or at least I, am meant to do. Instead, doing anything meaningful is what makes life worthwhile.
So, those nuns were on to something. We are to live purposeful lives, but are they predestined? Doubtful. And are we limited to one thing? Absolutely not.
The nuns were on to another thing as well. Utilizing these things that we do with meaning to help others also makes life worthwhile. I’ve found that focusing all of our energies on what will make us internally happy is futile. We do so much fixating on how outside forces will affect our inside happiness, we forget how we affect those outside of us. We can’t control those outside forces, so focusing on how we can affect others is a much better use of time.
I do believe you get out of life what you give, or as the Beatles put it, “And in the end, the love you make is equal to the love you take.” But, still, if we are helping others for the purpose of making ourselves happy, we’re missing the point.
Part of finding our “callings” or what is meaningful to us, is finding how we can help others. I believe we should focus outwards first and think how our skills can benefit the people we care about. That will give almost anything meaning.
In my own life, the act of writing itself isn’t what makes my life meaningful, but the people for whom I write. My target audience is young women and I write to motivate them and to provide them with inspirational characters. I write to get other people to think. When I accomplish that is when I know what I’m doing is meaningful.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/davetoussaint/8686890151/”>Dave Toussaint (www.photographersnature.com)</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a>