We are all wanderers in our own little worlds, embracing pleasure, avoiding pain, seeking happiness, and accumulating more assets – more than the person next door, or the person sitting in next cubicle. We crave for things that seem to matter the most, but soon they are replaced by new cravings. We fancy a new object of desire every other day, but irrespective of whether our cravings are satisfied or not, life generally moves on, more or less the same way. And then, we stumble upon an almost impossible purpose that stands right in front of us, blocking our way. It stares at us, rattling our core and questioning conventional wisdom. The odds may be stacked heavily against us, but the purpose cannot be ignored, avoided, or compromised – for going around it would mean a diminished self-worth, and regret that would last us a lifetime.
It is a purpose that defines the meaning of life for us; a purpose that defines our existence.
A farmer struggles under the weight of successive droughts. He toils his field relentlessly, year after year, while the government and the rain gods continue to make a mockery of his existence. He has a purpose that is much bigger than his own life – the life of his wife and children are at stake.
A young couple is madly in love. Their passion for each other extends beyond the harsh boundaries of their orthodox families and communities. Their love is too pure to understand the differences in their caste or religion. Their purpose to spend the rest of their lives in each other’s arms is far too precious to be compromised. They elope in search for a more humane world, while the death threat looms over their head.
A scientist tries to make the first light bulb. He has a vision to illuminate the world, beyond anyone’s comprehension. His purpose is far too important to be shadowed by repeated failures. He sees each failure merely as a life incident, a learning opportunity, a useful step that will improve the quality of his subsequent efforts.
Hoards of people follow the lead of a fearless saint, in search of freedom. Centuries of slavery has reduced human life to redundancy and humiliation – the status quo must be challenged with full vigor. Freedom becomes a purpose that cannot be denied, not anymore. The common man dons the courage of a fearless warrior, ready to lay their life without second thoughts.
The stories are endless, and they are all around us. People leave their stable careers and venture out behind their dreams – they fight for a cause, open a school, start a business, take up writing, join politics, move back to their village or country, among others. It could be your story or it could be mine – if not today, then tomorrow. At least once in our life, we are all challenged by circumstances to rise above the level of our mundane existence. We find a compelling purpose that we believe defines us better than our status quo. It takes us beyond our materialistic world and beyond our comforts. Of course, the path is extremely challenging – we must step over our insecurity and self-doubt. Then, we must find the courage and perseverance to go on and on, no matter how discouraging or testing the circumstances. What is right or wrong does not matter anymore, for the journey is more important than the destination.
All that matter is… we step forward and pursue the purpose that defines us.