I've had a few discussions with a few different people lately and it has led me to ponder.
People think there must be some grand scheme or point to their lives. They worry and pontificate if they don't have their lives planned out, or if they don't know that they will leave a legacy behind, or if their life will be fulfilling, or they will have lived in vain. As I think on this, I often wonder what the neanderthal thought the point was to his/her life...I would guess he/she just wanted to survive long enough to have children.
Yet I wonder, is it really such a great mystery? I think of children starving to death on the streets in India. I don't think they ponder these things too much. Or the woman in Peru who is working three jobs just to keep her children fed and dressed. Do you think the point of this life is just to feed and clothe children and find some happiness in their day to day lives?
Is it imperative to leave a legacy behind? What if we do leave a legacy behind but it is unknown to us at the time that we are doing so; does it still count?
Do you think the great-grandparents of Nelson Mandela had any idea they would provide the DNA to such a great man? Any great person, for that matter, came from a line of ordinary, average people who had no idea that one day, their offspring would one day change the world.
I run a support group for people who are leaving or have left the mormon church. As I was going through my own crisis, many of the members reached out to me and helped me to see the great good I have done and the many lives I have touched. I couldn't see it at the time, as it seems so ordinary, so simple. Yet, through their eyes, I have helped them in ways that I had no idea I was impacting lives.
I donate money to an organization called Kiva.org. They give micro loans to individuals in countries where there is a lot of poverty. These loans aid families in providing for themselves, in starting, running and maintaining their own businesses. In some small way, I am helping to change poverty.
Are these small things in such a big world? Absolutely. I have no illusions that I will have a huge impact on the world. I am only one small cog in a big, big wheel.
But I am one small cog.