This past Saturday, I had three different discussions with three different groups of friends about purpose. I almost believed there is a self actualization bug going around town. But I’d feel selfish if I didn’t share the main highlights of these conversations, hoping to hear more about what others think about this topic.
The conversations revolved around the same questions: Does life have meaning? Do we have a purpose in life? if so, what is it?
Let’s start with a simple assumption: that God really doesn’t play dice, and that everyone is here for a reason.
If this is true, then there is no insignificant event in our lives. Let me highlight this with a fictitious example:
You’re standing in a bookstore checking out a book that looks interesting. You take it off the shelf, flip through it, and return it to the shelf. Only this time, you didn’t put it in its original location.
Someone comes few hours later looking for another book, and stumbles accidentally on the book you put back in the location where this other person was supposed to find her book.
She picks up the book, flips through it and is immediately captured by the information inside it. She buys it, goes home and spends the following days devouring the material inside it.
She’s finally found something she’s passionate about, and for the following years, she studies everything she could find about that topic.
A couple of decades later, she wins the Nobel prize in medicine for discovering how to reconnect damaged spines, ending the pain for thousands of paralyzed patients who could finally walk again.
And this could not have happened if you didn’t pick up that book, and put it back in the wrong place.
This is the butterfly effect that’s going around us in every single moment in our lives, and we’re not aware of it.
I remember reading in Paul Madonna’s book how his grandfather, during a walk in San Francisco, while they were both ready to cross the street asked him to wait for the next crossing light, saying: “Let’s change the fate of the universe”.
And we all do, on a daily basis. Everything we do alters the fate of the whole universe, whether we are aware of it or not.
This leads to a simple conclusion: everyone has a purpose. Whether we are aware of it or not, that’s a different story.
There are those who live their lives completely oblivious to its purpose, those who don’t care about what their purpose is, and those who think they have one purpose and discover later, or never, that their life had a completely different purpose.
My point here is best illustrated through a fable that I read a long time ago:
Once lived a good man that God was so happy with, so he sent him an angel to grant him a wish for his virtuous life. The angel showed up for that guy and told him that he’ll grant him any wish he wants.
“Do you want money?”, the angel asked. “No. I have enough money to live gratefully day by day”, the man replied.
“Do you want long life?”.
“No, I want to live my days on Earth, and leave when my time is due”.
“Well, I have to grant you a wish, so please ask for anything you want.”, the angel said.
“I want to live the best life God wishes a human being to live”, the man replied.
God granted the man his wish, and made his shadow heal everyone it falls over, whenever the sun is shining on the man’s face. The man lived the rest of his life, going around the world, doing his day to day business, performing miracles he was never aware of.