The Purpose of Life- (pt. 2)
** For context, please begin with "The Purpose of Life"- (pt.1)
THE PURPOSE OF LIFE (pt. 2)
(cont.)- For the first 2 or 3 months after being laid off I refused to apply for Unemployment Benefits. I saw anyone on Unemployment as a leech, manipulating the American workforce for handouts. I was very optimistic that I would Surely be accepted for a good, decent-paying job within the next week. So, I proceeded to drain all of my savings and even dip into my retirement funds, just to support my stubborn beliefs and, I suppose, my superiority complex. After a few months of this, I was desperate and I finally realized that the taxes I’ve been paying my entire life were, in large part, to support the possibility of such a time of necessity. And believe me- I have NOT been milking the system. I tried going business to business inquiring about work, but these days, the only reply ever given is “Have you checked our website to see if we have any openings? If there are, then you can apply online.” EVERY TIME! So I do. I’ve applied for a MINIMUM of 4 jobs every weekday since I was first laid off- MINIMUM. I would have to say that if I haven’t reached 1,000 applications yet, I’m pretty damn close. And the only replies are from either straight commission, outside sales jobs- in which I would have no client base- or- well presented opportunities to sell $2,500 vacuum/air purifiers. Unemployment is NOT a vacation by any means! (and, yes, I have been using the local Temp-to-Hire Staffing Services- and I HATE it! I feel like I’m being fired each time my Assignment is over). Being Unemployed is a maddening condition which only increases my stress level day after day.
Like I mentioned, I’ve applied for 100’s, if not 1,000’s, of jobs online, many of which have extensive online applications and tests or assessments. One of the applications I filled out last month had a question that blew me away! This section was an attitude test which asked me to describe my attitude by selecting between 2 options and choosing “Very much like me” or “Somewhat like me” for one of the 2 options. For one of these questions, the two options were- 1. “I feel that some things in life are completely out of my control”- or – 2. “I feel that I control my future by my work ethic and attitude.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME! This is the stupidest fucking question I’ve ever heard! These are NOT opposites! Both describe my beliefs 100%!! Clearly the person who wrote this has no clue whatsoever how life really works, because there are ABSOLUTELY things that happen that are out of your control. How could they possibly dispute this? I would do anything in the world to not have been involved in my life-changing car accident! But I WAS. So now what? In Life, Everything is Cause and Effect. The saying “no smoke, no fire” somewhat applies here. The fire still may have taken place but if nothing results from it,……… I believe with all my heart that despite whatever happens to me, I can decide how it AFFECTS ME! I can decide this by my Attitude and my Response. Lou Holtz, the former football coach at Notre Dame, is attributed with this fantastic quote: “Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.” This is extremely insightful and absolutely how I feel.
It’s also important to realize that I’m NOT a Victim. It does NOT mean that I’m a bad person, or a loser, or a down-and-outer. It does NOT mean that God is punishing me for some particularly unforgivable sin. In short, what I do for a living DOES NOT define who I am as a person-so Work can NOT be the Purpose of Life. Likewise, I’ve experienced Success when I didn’t deserve it, and my ‘Failures’ now are, for the most part, not deserved- so that would imply that Success is NOT the Purpose of Life either. I have definitely had my share of Fun throughout the years! If you don’t believe me, check out my post entitled “I,” a tongue-in-cheek, spoof synopsis of my experiences (although not very popular yet-?). Pleasure tastes sweet to the tongue, but then it’s gone the next moment and leaves behind a hollow void. Regarding Pleasure, there’s never enough- so Pleasure is NOT the Purpose of Life. Love is the correct answer, but only in some forms. Passion is not the purpose. Lust is not the purpose. The Love that is the purpose of Life is “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself". So this is what is left: LOVE OF GOD AND OTHERS, AND FAITH.
Faith and Love are principles supported by Someone who I wouldn’t be comfortable even paraphrasing, much less contradict:
“One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."- (Mark 12:28-31)
Umm…yeah- Like He said.
In closing, after 5 months or so of repeated Failure and constantly running into walls, I became resigned to ‘Loserness’, began to anticipate Failure, and became monotone and lifeless. Finally, I saw myself for who I was becoming, and was convicted to change my perspective when I read this quote from the Bible itself:
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever, is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
Shortly after printing and posting that verse on my bedroom door, I happened to select a book from the library entitled “Think Like A Winner,” by Dr. Walter Doyle Staples. Other than the Bible this may possibly be the most influential book in my life. This is a genius book with many, many inspirational concepts and quotes. Some of my favorites are: “What you present yourself to be, in the end, is what is drawn out of you”; “Adopt the key core belief that there is some benefit to be had from every adversity”; and “Whatever you can picture in your mind and firmly believe, you can achieve.” Another great inspirational writer is Norman Vincent Peale, his most famous being “The Power of Positive Thinking.” When I Googled Peale’s best quotes, I ran into this one in particular that helped change my mindset: “The person who sends out positive thoughts activates the world around him positively and draws back to himself positive results.”
After seeing all or this advice on Positive Living, and after reading “The Shack” by Wm. Paul Young, I decided that my Faith is best described as being powered by The Spirit of God- within me! I dug around a bit and found out that the word “Entheos,” in Greek, translates “having the god within.” Entheos is the root from which the word Enthusiasm derives:
ENTHUSIASM : 1 a : belief in special revelations of the Holy Spirit b : religious fanaticism
2 a : strong excitement of feeling : Ardor <did her work with energy and enthusiasm> b : something inspiring zeal or fervor <his enthusiasms include sailing and fishing>
Enthusiasm, of course, is a trait possessed by an Enthusiast:
ENTHUSIAST: : a person filled with Enthusiasm: as a : one who is ardently attached to a cause, object, or pursuit <a sports car enthusiast> b : one who tends to become ardently absorbed in an interterest.
Therefore, drawing upon Divine Wisdom of Jesus Christ and from many other brilliant thinkers throughout history this is my conclusion::: **"What is the Purpose of Life?" This is both the question and it's answer. The Purpose of Life is to SERVE a Purpose- to offer something from your unique gifts and abilities that makes the world a better place; and to HAVE a Purpose- an Enthusiasm so strong that your very existence depends on it!
*(see the background to this post at “The Purpose of Life (pt.1))