I have always hoped that I was created for a purpose, and that as I progressed through life, I would stumble upon what that purpose was. Maybe I am part of a Grand Design or maybe I’m just one tiny speck in a universe that was birthed from a cosmic explosion. No one can prove either theory, and man has wrestled with the question of his origin since the beginnings of recorded history.
I go to the top of the mountain and look down upon the rest of humanity racing around, pursuing its goals, its rights, its possessions. But for some reason, when I stand at the top of the mountain – a safe place – and look down on the rest of the world frenetically gratifying itself, it is easier to ask myself what it’s all for and why I am here and how it is that I fit into the “big picture” that I am a part of every day.
A dying man lies in his bed, fighting for his life. He knows that his time is coming to meet his Maker, or just fade away into nothingness – whatever happens to be his personal belief of what his ultimate fate will be. And it’s different in every person’s mind. Some people have religion and some don’t. But we all have an opinion about the ultimate reality of humanity – or if there even is one at all.
And next to the bed of the dying man, sits a good, solid, and true friend. The friend holds the ailing man’s hand and speaks to him in soothing tones – all while he would rather be anywhere than where he is at that moment. It is all too sad watching his dear friend fade away in millimeter-sized increments, each tiny increment or small setback a major catastrophe within itself. But the man has made a personal choice to put aside his own feelings of sorrow and anger at a God of Love who would allow such suffering to prevail in the life of so good a man.
He is there to help, not to feel good. And through his own hours of personal sacrifice, sitting next to his dying friend, quite by accident and very unexpectedly, he discovers the meaning of life. Not just the reason for his being in this room at this time. But what he was born to fulfill.
The man realizes that life was not intended to be the pursuit of one pleasurable experience superseding the one before it. Life is not a game of seeking personal gratification.
The brave friend and good-hearted man, who chokes back his tears and gives a few hours of his own over-committed time to his suffering friend, realizes that the reason that he was put on the planet was to learn to live in a state of Community. And that sometimes living in Community with others is pleasurable and nothing short of glorious. But at other times, it is unbelievably painful.
He begins to understand that living in concert with the rest of humanity is always good and forever pure. Living in Community – the giving of the best part of ourselves back to others – feels like the act of sprinting away from the natural human spirit and, instead, running in the opposite direction, towards something Bigger than anything that we could ever manufacture on our own. It is the surrendering of our pleasures and of our rights and of our justifiable hurts and allowing something Better – the Essence of Goodness — to direct what we do with our lives and who we associate with and the decisions we all ultimately make that impact everyone within our circle of friends and associates. The act of giving ourselves over to the Human Community as a whole can affect generations of people, and how they are perceived and treated for the rest of time.
Living as part of the Human Community carries with it much responsibility, but its rewards are far more excellent than any that we can attain by ourselves or for our own gratification. It makes us a part of something larger, a higher state of mind and Spirit.
The good friend places his head on the pillow of the dying man who has mercifully drifted off into sleep, and the healthy man gives in to the warm tears that he has been holding back, and relief floods his soul as the tears flow freely.
And as the man silently weeps, the dying man awakens, slowly turns his head in the direction of his dear, dear friend, and says to him:
“I am going to go to God soon. Don’t cry, because I am at peace with that.”
And the two men, who were each once separate elements of humanity, but who now are tangibly connected, embrace. And at that precise second in time, both men understand — with perfect clarity — the meaning of their existence:
Wisdom has disclosed to them that the most important thing that they can ever achieve – the highest state that a man or woman can ever actualize is to become a part of the Human Community — a fellowship of love so that no one is ever truly alone.