Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Answer

It was a difficult day.

The Questions:

Her phone alarmed at 6:05am. She automatically turned it off, and curled underneath her blanket. Another day, she thought. Only if she could make up excuses for not going to work, she would’ve probably slept the whole day. But she knew she had to get up and drag herself to shower. Can it be like this forever?

Almost 10 hours of the day, she had to deal with her job, which failed to engross her lately. She had to tire out herself “finding money,” as she put it. She knew sales was not her forte. Dealing with tough clients wasn’t already interesting, but draining. She tried to search for the enthusiasm she once had. Is this the career path she had in mind?

At home, she hardly saw her dad. They hadn’t talked for nearly 3 months. Not about work, not about what’s happening, not about anything at all. Where did her control-freak dad go?

She remembered how angry he was for not being able to impose what he wanted in her life. And she, herself, got mad at him for not accepting that not everything in her life could be manipulated by his plans, or at least what he believed was right for her. And they argued for 3 minutes or so, and fell silent for 3 months. Why can’t he understand?

She had remaining 3 to 4 hours before she would go back to bed. She had a few options on how to spend ‘em.

Watch TV. Maybe Tyra would feature some anorexic 5’11” women wanting to be 80lbs. Then she’d feel some people were more ridiculous than her. Can’t people find any contentment at all?

Chat with friends. That would divert her spotlight away from her own self. Would they have any other interesting things to say? Or would they be sensitive enough to hear what she had to say?

Dinner. She’d still have to figure out if this would add up to the free radicals in her body or if her liver won’t be overloaded. Is this healthy or toxic?

Read. She got all those halfway-read newly-purchased books piled up on her nightstand waiting for her to start living with the principles of maximizing time, heading towards success, and unleashing innermost capabilities. Yeah, the ideas were great. But why don’t they suffice?

She had the usual questions a normal 23-year old would have. (That’s insanity aside.) Life starts to become a burden, not an enjoyable thing. A day passes without any difference from the previous day and a voice within her keeps on whispering that life couldn’t be just like that. Living is supposed to be a short, yet exciting and wonderful experience you can’t wait to taste; not a dreadful, boring journey on a tunnel wherein seeing the end of it is your only goal.

She satisfied herself with a book that had been with her for months but she felt too exhausted to even consider opening. It struck her with its promises to answer life’s toughest questions. Really, huh? Now there’s such a thing as a universal answer to all the questions she had in mind. Intrigued, she leafed through it.

Upon recovery from the state of shock after reading, the reality flashed to her as if wondering why she was surprised with the answer she got. She had always tried to find some meaning in her life and a sense of purpose for her existence but instead she found herself facing the same “difficult days”, doing the same things. Little did she know that all this time, she got it all wrong.

The Answer

There’s a huge difference between existing and actually living. To exist is to breathe, to move even the most futile movement, and to be able to stay alive, even if it meant a machine is keeping your vital organs at work. To exist is to drift in this world with no purpose.

On the contrary, to live is to understand that you are tailored to a more meaningful existence. It is knowing what makes you special and what you’re supposed to do to make use of the gifts given to you.

To live is not self-serving. You may have acquired all the riches in the world, won all the trophies of success and yet come home after the most victorious event feeling empty, alone, and strangely senseless.

If you cease to find the purpose of your existence, you cease to exist. Like a wave just going with the flow of others, not knowing its destiny, it seems that it’s meant to only crash in the shore. But the truth is, even how long the journey is and how hard the crash must be, even a tiny wave it is, it’s designed to still go back to the where it belongs – the ocean.

How then do you define the answers to all these seemingly endless questions on the depth of life’s meaning?

She had kept herself captive of doubts and weariness with her life. She’d been trying to figure out if she’s only meant to crash in the shore. But then it struck her that she’d been searching on the wrong places.

Is she meant to crash in the shore, she wondered. And the answer shone on her like the sun’s rays in the morning sky. She is designed to go back to where she belongs. She is destined to carry out the master plan of the one who made her.

When you remember where you came from, it is easier for you to figure out where you’re heading. When you understand that you’re not just a single wave, but a part of the bigger ocean, it is already laid out to you what you need to prioritize. When you realize that you are not the steward of your own life, but mere clay molded by the Potter’s hand, it is natural for you to let go and allow the Maker to take control of your steering wheel.

Most of the time we trouble ourselves with every detail in our life, believing that they are the truly essential things that would keep us going- dreams, security, stability, health, relationships. But the question remained, to keep us going where? Is fulfilling a dream the end goal? Would having uncountable wealth satisfy our deepest longing? Would living up to a hundred years make us feel we have made sense on earth?

Only through the proper perspective in life we can truly decode what it is to live. And the perspective does not come from our own expertise; rather it comes from the wisdom of the Most High who is all-knowing. We keep our eyes on what’s material, on what’s physical, but He knows what is truly essential, what is eternal. If we know how to align the journey of our life with His master plan, the drifting comes to an end, and the living begins.

Searching for His ultimate plan for us is not simple and instant, though. It is not as if you’d stare up in the sky and the answer will just reveal itself to you. It takes conscious diligence and loads of grace from God to uncover the answer. It may take a lifetime search, but it’s the kind of quest that’s worth taking. Rather than journeying alone and clueless, it is more reassuring to go through this life knowing that the hand of the Father is with us, directing us which path to take.

When we allow God’s hand to lead us, dealing with difficulties on our jobs becomes a tiny hump in the road that won’t keep us off-track. When we allow God to guide us, misunderstanding and pains in our relationships will be washed away by His immeasurable love and compassion. Nothing in our life is too trivial for Him, for He knows every detail in our life. He knows us more than we know ourselves. So if we feel lost and wonder what living is all about, try to search for Him, and you’re going to get the most wonderful answer there is.