The search for meaning

This time of year, as all the new graduates are leaving their perspective schools, colleges, and universities to search for the perfect position, we hear all the graduation speeches admonishing the new graduates to “make a difference.” 

Most of the time, these new graduates, and those of us there to support them, leave the ceremonies and set out in search for their meanings. Those of us who are Christians are seeking to serve God in our “tentmaker ministry” (Acts 18:3).  They, and we, set out to make each day something grand, to cure cancer each day, to save lives every day, to preach to the masses, to somehow change the world. 

What we do not realize is that, often those major changes, are made one little stop at a time. Most days, we do not preach to the masses, save a life, cure some awful disease. Most days, we simply go about the mundane, hopefully making the right choices. 

As a fellow traveler, I am far from being the one to offer a great amount of insight into how to “search for meaning”. In most ways, I am still searching. My spiritual conversion from a non-Christian to a Christian is done, but being a good follower in all things needs work. My personal life is fulfilled in that I have found my life’s mate, we have been blessed with three children we love more than anything. Yet, I struggle with how to be a good husband, good father. My career has been an ever evolving process to find that right position.

Recently I was communicating with a couple of old friends. One left high school and quickly got into a career with the government. He is probably right on the cusp of being able to retire. I want to find that career spot and serve there. May never reach retirement the way things are going. He tried to imagine what my journey had been like in the search for academic knowledge, while I tried to understand his journey of being a “lifer” at an occupation. From that perspective, the late Erma Bombeck was right, “The grass is greener over the septic tank” I guess. 

So, how do we find meaning? As a pilgrim on the journey, I can only make the following observations. First, seek God in all things. I do believe He brought me into the biological world. What and where my purpose is, only He knows. Second, remember the story of the man throwing the fish back into the water. You may not change the lives of all, but you change those lives of those you touch. Third, enjoy the baby steps and make a difference in the small things, don’t focus on the big things. The human genome was not discovered all in a day. It took baby steps.