A. J. Windless
What Life is All About
Most of us want to feel important. Some attempt to seek this sense of importance by accumulating wealth. Such a goal does give us something to work for, and if we become extremely wealthy and powerful certainly a lot more people will know who we are. Others try to achieve a sense of importance through athletics, acting, music, or other similar approaches. But when we die, was it all worth it so that thousands, or even millions of people will take note of our death, but will do so for a mere few minutes? In this way we become merely a passing thought, not much more than dust in the wind. If we want to leave a lasting mark on this world, first we should identify who it is we want to be important to. I don't know about you, but I find no value in having fleeting importance to a whole town full, or even to a whole world full of people that I don't even know. I would rather be important to the people that are important to me, starting with my immediate family, such as my spouse, children, father, mother, brothers, and sisters, and then branching out to my extended family such as  grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I would also want to be important to my friends, neighbors, and coworkers. In other words the people I want to be important to are the people that I associate with on a regular basis in my life. I could also add to this list the people that need my help the most. Once we have identified who we want to be important to, we identify how we will become important. Would you say that being there for them is the key to this whole process? I think that most people who have children have found thousands of things to do for them and with them, helping them with their homework, going to their school plays, playing board games together, and simply spending time with them. It's also easy to think of thousands of things you can do for your significant other that will draw you closer together, surpise flowers, special meals, emotional support, and simply expressing your love. What about the old widow that lives down the street from you? There must dozens of things you can do to help her out. Perhaps shoveling snow from her driveway, baking cookies or meals, or simply visiting and letting her "talk your ear off." I mentioned earlier that we could add to this list people that really need our help, for example, I could volunteer help at the local soup kitchen. As we do things for strangers we come to appreciate more deeply the value of every life, and in the process come to cherish and understand our own value. I believe that doing things for others and bonding with them is what will fill that emptiness that some of us feel inside. We will come to realize that we are important, who we are important to, and why we are important. Jesus said that "Whosoever shall lose himself shall be found." I think we lose our petty problems and concerns by helping others and becoming involved in their problems. I once belonged to the Mormon church and one Sunday I was asked to teach a lesson to the priesthood holders. I taught this very concept, that people are what life is all about, that our lives should be based on helping others. At the end of the lesson one of the priesthood holders apparently thought I was leading people astray, he raised his hand and sternly objected, "But Jesus said I am the way." I reminded him that Jesus said, "Do the things that you have seen me do." and then asked, "What did Jesus do? He healed the sick, opened the eyes of the blind, and fed the hungry. Everything Jesus did,  even dying on the cross, was for other people." Putting more focus on other people will enrich your life no matter what religion you embrace, whether you are Christian, Budhist, Muslim,  or atheist, this is pure religion. "Try it, you'll like it."
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