By Joseline Byakatonda
For every need in the World, God cares’, started a facilitator at a Catholic Christian Outreach, Heart of Jesus Mission, that brought together 90 participants from nine (9) renown universities in Uganda at Uganda Wildlife Education Center, Entebbe. All eyes, including mine, glared at her, wondering whether our expectation of each participant finding their purpose in life would be met. However to others, their minds were flushed with anger at how God could care about every problem or need in the World yet He has the power to prevent circumstances but chooses not to.
The facilitator after leaving us to bleat for a while continued to the second statement to complete the first … through you. For every need or problem, there is in the World, God cares through you. A talk that was boring before started to interest everyone. I am meant to work with God in making the World a better place! Hmm, God is really relying on me? The sharing was about self discovery, answering the question “why am I here -on earth, for what mission.” Meaning in life only comes with knowing why one exists, is present on earth and why a human being is human. The World’s greatest need today is teaching people to reflect. A life without reflection is worthless as one may trod a road only to realise half way that it was the wrong route. Self reflection enables us to live consciously, impact-fully and not just survive.
As youth, more so intellectuals, the focus in studies is the job to be acquired after university. Considering past decades, this millennium is characterized by super technology, inventions, discoveries, more arms, properties, yet depression levels are just rising. One would think the World’s populace would be more fulfilled and happy because of the ease with which we live but unfortunately, NO. Parents are becoming more depressed and so are the children. There’s more to just living a comfortable life; it is making a difference in other people’s lives. Only then can true fulfilment come about. MTN marathon collects million’s of shillings because professionals are searching for fulfilment and give to make a difference. True fulfilment comes from daily living. The young generation is searching for true means to happiness; unfortunately, the adult/older generation lost these means a long time. The current breed is therefore a purposeless generation. People are ceasing to ask the why question. Even children are forbidden to ask WHY? But why forbid for asking why yet knowing why understanding is and understanding lasts? We are asking why about projects but not the why of our lives. It is ideal to teach the young generation to always ask the WHY? Why am I studying? Why should I not indulge in early sex? Why am I on earth?
Knowing one’s purpose on earth takes us to discussing passion. Passion is an area or subject of interest to which one’s heart is drawn to make a difference. For example, whereas one may be passionate about women, in women, there are units of: single mothers, teenage mothers, expectant mothers, business women, rural women and those affected in various ways like in the fistula campaign. This is why even among doctors, there are different specialties. A profession is therefore a means to fulfilling one’s passion but not an end in itself. The irony there is now is professions being treated as the end.
Also, the danger is studying a field not connected to one’s passion. Because discussions of self discovery are not ingrained in our culture and education systems, a late discovery of passion sometimes may demand for a complete change of course in one’s life which may be challenging. Imagine how challenging it would be for a sixty (60) year old who discovers that their passion was for children and a seventeen (17) year old who discovers that passion earlier. The impact of both will not be the same. The later will live a more meaningful and happier life. At the time the 17 year old is 60, the World will have more to celebrate about them. And still, the 17 year old will live a meaningful life, hence more happy.
Passion can also be called a holy discontent. One may have a holy discontent of leadership. Dysfunctional leadership creates empathy of the followers because they see their challenges not being addressed. Such a person would then work on forming those in leadership positions to efficiently serve, form others on self leadership and may even vie for leadership.
When skills become a means of just earning and not service, then selfishness sets in yet man was not created to mind about self alone. Humans are created to make a contribution in the well being of the earth. For that matter, if one is self centered, they cannot be fulfilled because they are not living to their innate purpose of co-creating a better World which is only possible through service. In other words, the cause of increased depression leading to mental illness and suicidal cases is self centeredness. Youth do not know why they have to study.
Many have gone to school yet few are literate despite the many existing schools. Developing talents is good, but talents should be nurtured as a means not an end. For every gift one has, it is intended for the fulfilment of their passion. It is good to take us to school but why are we going to school, it is good to teach us the good practice of going to Church on Sunday or praying but tell us the why?
Brownie Ware interacted with people in their old age or death beds and through asking a number of questions realized five common regrets of the dying in the published book, ‘The top Five regrets of the dying’. The first of these is, “I wish I had had the courage to live a life true to myself not the life others expected of me’. Second, ‘I wish I didn’t work so hard’. This means not neglecting responsibilities but prioritizing the most important. Third, ‘I wish I had the courage to express my feelings’. Fifth, ‘I wish that I had let myself be happier’. We need to read about purpose and research about passion for a meaningful life. Life without purpose is travelling a journey with a compass, but no sense of direction. Let’s help the young generation find meaning in their lives early for the benefit of the World.
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