Thursday, February 26, 2009

Meaning In The Mundane

I am the type of person who wants to do things BIG. I want to make a big splash, a big difference, a big impact, etc. A few years ago I went to Jamaica because I wanted to do big-time service but when I was there I learned service is the little things too.

I’m starting to believe I can find meaning and purpose in the small things as well.

Last week I would have told you to make difference, to really change the world, requires a best-selling book or a cure for cancer, something like that. Then I started thinking about it. I started burrowing down into the root cause of “making a difference.” Why do I want to write a book? Why is finding a cure for cancer such a big deal? Then it hit me: duh, it’s because it affects other people! I started to realize the change, the growth, the impact comes from the interaction with people. Finding a cure for cancer is only meaningful if people know about it, if the antidote becomes widespread. Writing a book is only helpful if people actually read it and it touches them, changes their way of thinking.

As I pondered this I realized my everyday life has meaning and value because I interact with others all the time. I realized the purpose behind my life comes into play with my daily actions. Saying please and thank you. Smiling. Acknowledging the homeless woman on the corner. They may seem like tiny, tiny things but I’m reminded of a quote by Maya Angelou. She said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Asking the bank teller how her day is going may not be earth-shattering but she will certainly remember if I’m snarly and impatient.

We all touch people everyday with the way we talk to them, with the feeling we put behind our words. When it comes down to it, the meaning and the purpose in life is how we affect those around us. I for one want to be the type of person who inspires, who uplifts. I want to touch people and let them know love exists, hope exists, God exists. I want others to see another life is possible, another world is possible. Life can be great and grand and fulfilling. Appearing on Oprah would be great but my creator gives me the opportunity to make a difference all the time. Everyday counts. Every minute counts. Every interaction counts. Here. Now.

These are not my permanent thoughts but I would like them to be. I pray for the awareness to become deepened. I want to wake up every morning with joy for life, joy for what I’m doing because I recognize my very existence is meaningful. I want to see the value and meaning and purpose in my life even though I’m not yet a published author. I want to feel like my life has purpose even though on the surface all it consists of is waking up and going to work everyday. I want to truly believe by spreading love and light everyday there is meaning in my life.

I have the same wish for others.

I envision a world where everyone everywhere sees the higher purpose in their seemingly mundane lives. I dream of a world where we understand how we interact with others is where the difference, the change, the meaning comes from. Where we realize it may not seem like much but smiling at the hot dog vendor has merit. I dream of a world where we pursue our big dreams of becoming doctors, lawyers, legislators, writers and yet still have sweet and smiling behavior on the day to day level. I dream of a world where every morning we all wake up with joy, joy for life, joy for what we’re doing. Where we find meaning and purpose and fulfillment in the everyday.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

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