We’re doing a series at our church at the moment called Ask It – it’s asking the big questions in life and talking through what the answers might be. So the first week we looked at the question “what’s the wise thing to do?”. I’ve been thinking about my own big questions and when I heard this was the series the first question that popped into my mind was “Why are we here?” – what is the point in our existence? – heavy subject you might say but one that I think is probably one of the most fundamental questions we ask deep down. Sometimes our own answers may be right on the tip of our tongues, other times they may be very hard to find.
Today I met up with someone I worked with about 27 years ago. I can’t even believe I’m old enough to have been working 27 years ago but sadly I am. What struck me as we talked about our lives since then was that sometimes you can look back at the journey you’ve been on and see the stepping stones – the twists and turns along the way that have led you to where you are now. Sometimes you can’t seem them and certainly when you’re on those stones you have no clue where you will end up.
Not being able to have my own children naturally has probably been one of the hardest things to deal with in my life but now I know it was absolutely the right thing for me. Without that heartache and struggle we would not have adopted our wonderful children, I would certainly not be working in the area I am and the friends I have made and experiences I’ve had along the way are priceless and very precious to me.
The universal question of “Why are we here?” is a huge one. I remember when my Dad died a few years ago now I questioned this a lot. “What is the point?” our lives seem so short and we seem to have such little impact on the world around us. People are born and die and sometimes it feels that they are forgotten so quickly. I know though that the impact my Dad had on me and others around him was immense. Something we may never really truly know is the impact we have on those around us. I’d like to think something of who I am and what I’ve done in this life will have made a mark on others so that it will be passed on when I’m gone. But much of that we have to trust – we may never know. We do what we feel is right and hope that it has significance beyond ourselves.
Since I started my working life I always wanted to do a job where I felt a purpose and that it was ‘meant for me’. I’ve done many jobs that I’ve enjoyed and felt I could express who I was in those jobs. However the one I have now has noticeably more meaning to me. I am so passionate about making lives better for vulnerable children, their families and those working with them that sometimes I am overwhelmed with the weight of it. I know it’s not all down to me of course (I wouldn’t be that arrogant to think it is) but I do know when you find your ‘calling’ – a job that is really your purpose, it makes getting up in the morning so much easier. Of course there’s fear and you have to be brave everyday to do and makes dreams become a reality, but I wouldn’t trade if for the world.
When I was a coach I spent much of my time encouraging people to find out who they are and to fulfil the dreams they have – whether in their work life or personal lives and it was brilliant to see lives transformed. Now that those desires and skills have moved into the world of vulnerable children – with my own personal story and feelings towards this subject it’s all the more fulfilling. I’m not necessarily saying for us all we have to find those jobs. You can be in a job that ‘pays the bills’ but get your sense of purpose elsewhere. Some get that from their families, their hobbies, their faith. For me though I know that without a sense of purpose then life does have the feeling of hopelessness, that sense of “what’s the point?” and “why am I here?”. Those questions need to be answered in us all so that we know what our purpose in and can spend our lives pursuing that.
We’re encouraged aren’t we to always ask questions? Sometimes the asking is much more important then the answer and I’ve felt at times that when I ask a question such as this one that it might actually bring more questions instead of answers. But that’s good. When we stop asking questions I think that’s when we need to worry. So whatever your big question today might be don’t be afraid of it – ask it, you might be surprised at what answers you may find!