To Live For Others
“I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be ‘happy’. I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate. It is, above all, to matter and to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all.”
– Leo C. Rosten
Everybody wants to be happy. Countless movies, books, proverbs have been made, written, spoken on how to achieve it. Many influential people around the world have sworn by it as the secret to their success, just as many have died from the lack of it. Numerous journeys of every kind have been undertaken in pursuit of it. People, in their own ways, pray for it every single day, whether to attain it or maintain it.
Everybody wants to be happy.
But is the pursuit and attainment of happiness the very reason for our existence?
Others might reason that, no, of course not, but happiness is important in order for us to perform well in whatever it is that we do or have chosen to dedicate ourselves to. Now, there’s nothing actually wrong with that. The thing is, sometimes what makes us happy can hurt other people, even the ones we love. Or, sometimes what makes us happy doesn’t actually hurt anyone…but it doesn’t actually do anything for anyone at all. We ourselves are the only ones benefitting from that happiness.
To live for others.
We’ve seen it in people who have chosen to dedicate their lives in the service of persons with disabilities, indigenous people, children in adoption centers, senior citizens in nursing homes, people in the urban poor areas. And this is just to name a few. They don’t have much, they don’t ask for much. But you can see it in their faces, feel it in the aura that surrounds them: something beyond happiness…something divine. In choosing a life of loving service, they have not only found something to live for, but also something to fight for and to love.
And happiness is the by-product. Not the ultimate goal.
To live for others. To know you will be leaving the world with something of you. To know you have made a difference, if not in the world then in a handful of people’s lives. To be the living testament to the fact that in the midst of all this worldly ugliness, love can still work wonders. To be a ray of divine light shining through a dusty window, a glimpse of God’s face for those who are having trouble finding Him.