Working, being useful, is human nature. Psychological studies have shown that in cases where adults lose employment, they often get depressed not simply because of the weight of responsibility (especially in a familial situation), but also because of a certain loss of humanity. We are a race that can create – centuries have passed and, as you can see around you, we were destined to make things, to add monumental achievements, both good and bad, to the world we live in. Without that opportunity, without the means or the talent to create, there a certain dejection, a loss of identity or purpose, that causes a certain depression – a feeling of being lost. Even in society, many people look down on those who don’t contribute to society, simply “leeching on hand-outs and government benefits,” as it were.
That’s what I learned, or rather extrapolated from, church today. And it got me thinking.
The other day, I was kidding around with a friend of mine by saying sarcastically that I was simply passing the time building up my argument against abortion while simultaneously musing about the meaning, or purpose, of life. Much to my amusement, he took me seriously, and I started to play along until he asked, “Well, what’s your purpose?” The answer has always been “whatever God has for me,” and it’s always been enough.
But I’m in college now. I should have some idea, and I feel that I do since I’ve been opened up to all kinds of situations where I could have sworn that God was pointing me to a certain situation. I just can’t describe it concretely – I can’t put a picture in my head; there’s no way to prepare for it. I simply know that its there.
So I replied, “I don’t know.”
The conversation came to mind because of this whole theme of “purpose” I’ve had today, one that really stood out just recently, after I spent the past 5 hours simply sitting on my bed, alternating between laying on my bed and wasting time on the computer. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the sensation where it feels like you can’t think straight, like your brain is out of shape or something, but that was what I felt when I finally got up from my bed, and I didn’t like it. It wasn’t that it was foreign, it was that I had grown to dislike feeling as if my thoughts are muddled and my mind is foggy. I prefer feeling alive – the thrill of solving a problem, thinking on my feet, the adrenaline of exercise, the joy of hanging out with friends… something. Anything. But as I sat there trying to clean away the cobwebs, I wondered if this was how it felt to lose a bit of one’s humanity. Where you become nothing but a drone of man’s creation, instead of making your own creation, pursuing your own purpose.
Or perhaps… well, perhaps not.