Archive for January 12th, 2015


RippleI wrote the essay below earlier this morning and almost deleted it.  But a while later, I decided that by doing this, by simply not commenting, I would be acting in the exact manner that I was advising against in those paragraphs.  The world is changing, sometimes in awful ways, and it is our duty to speak up and define the world in which we want to live.  So, as an act of responsibility to myself, I decided to hit the button to publish it.

Here it is:

The idea of having a purpose in life has been on my mind a lot lately.  Of course, this has been spurred on by the images of the many disaffected youths who have joined radical religious groups around the world, resulting in terrible acts of violence in the name of a distorted version of god’s law, like those we experienced this past week in France.

It seems  that so many of these youths have never sensed a forward direction in their lives or felt a sense of hope for their future.  They do not feel to be a part of their immediate world and have lost all trust in their own ability to create a life of purpose for themselves and, as a result, they allow others to step in and define their purpose and future, however destructive and hate-filled it might be.

Now, that’s incredibly broad and simplistic, I know.  But I can tell you from personal experience that having no sense of being, no sense of purpose in your existence, leaves you with a bitter anger on a road leading to destructive behavior, for your self and others.

So, if this is the case for many, what is the answer?  How do you give a sense of purpose to these kids without hope?  How do you give them a sense of worth and belonging?

I don’t know what the answer might be– there are so many of these kids in so many difficult environments that it can seem daunting.  I do know what will not work– pretending that it is not our problem and that it will somehow resolve of it’s own accord.  Do that and you will wake up some day in the near future wondering why these events that once only happened in places like Paris, Syria and Nigeria are taking place in cities near you.  With the inequality and rising rates of poverty in this country, we are sowing the seeds of hopelessness that could someday grow into the same scenarios we are seeing abroad.

So, what do we do?  Whatever you can do to make your own little isolated corner of the world a better place.  Be generous in spirit and inclusive in nature.  It may only seem like a pebble being thrown into a huge lake but the ripples of many splashes eventually creates a wave that might sweep across the entire lake.

I know that sounds almost moronically simple.  But sometimes simple is all we have.  We can’t all just around wait for someone to throw a big stone into that lake.  Throw your pebble.

Maybe that is your purpose.

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