Everyone feels, at one point or another, the inadequacy of his or her mediocre life. We hear the echoes of these inconsistencies and doubts via many facets of life. Through music; “we were meant to live for so much more” by Switchfoot, or in movies like “The Lord of the Rings”:
Sam: …Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn’t. They kept going because they were holding on to something.
Frodo: What are we holding on to, Sam?
Sam: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.
Where do these ideas of what this life is supposed to look like come from? And why, in most cases, when we stop and pause to reflect on life, are we only disappointed in where we have come and where we are going? Confusion about what this life is supposed to be seems more common than satisfaction in a life well lived.
Everything finds its meaning from its place in the story (thanks Brian McLaren). Significance comes not in any solitary moment or experience but within the context of seized opportunities. We need a paradigm shift in the mind of individuals about what it means to live life well and “have it together.” We live in a fast-paced, action-packed society that thrives off results. When individuals aren’t getting results, only participating in events/services/projects for the “satisfaction of taking part,” discouragement will soon settle in and make itself at home.
This becomes especially difficult when it comes to efforts like social justice. We won’t often see results – oppression, poverty, slavery and sexual exploitation aren’t just going to go away. This is a ceaseless fight – and I get tired, we get tired, and we long for results. But sometimes that is not what it is about. It’s about being faithful, doing what you are called to do – what you know you should do, loving the other, and seizing opportunities despite the outcome.
Sam’s right – there is some good in this world, and that good is worth fighting for. So what is your part in the story?