Monday, June 3, 2013


Some folks say "everything happens for a purpose".  I generally avoid those people.  On my planet, platitudes are a hallmark of low intellect.  Beyond being shallow and pointless, it's just plain wrong.  

Reasons exist in the realm of the mind.  The Universe operates on cause and effect, but causality and "purpose" are far from synonymous.  Many who share my faith will probably disagree.  That's their right.  Were I an Atheist or an Agnostic, I'd be considered and Existentialist.  Being that I'm a devout follower of Christ, that makes me a Christian Existentialist.  

In a nutshell I believe that "meaning and purpose" are mine to determine.  My journey, my struggles, my successes and failures have the meaning that I and my faith position ascribe to them.  I consider this a critical point of reason for those us us with "special challenges".  It's one that took me decades to come to.  I hope to help Nathan and others reach it far sooner.

The key here is activity versus passivity.  To put it in cheesy self-help terms "am I a victor or a victim".  Either way, my struggles define me.  They define Nathan.  They define all of us.  The question becomes "How will the definition read?"  Will my struggles drive me inward, toward a life of self pity, or will it drive me outward.  Will I give real meaning to my journey?

While living in DFW, I made contact with a Tourettes Syndrome support group.  The fellow who answered the phone was my age, lived with his parents, and wanted to know if I was bullied and mistreated as a child.   Yes.  I thought all of us were.  He had defined his struggle in terms of his pain.  His life wasn't a tragedy, but he had made it one.  The truly sad part is that I am certain that he is a smart, articulate person with a unique perspective on humanity.  Unfortunately, no one will benefit from it.

Those of us who struggle have a perspective.  We understand pain and heartache.  We know that life isn't fair.  At some point, we stop expecting it to be.  When we define our pain and struggle based upon what it has taught us, not what it has cost us, our personal cost becomes a benefit to those we encounter.  It's no longer what was taken from us.  The cost of our struggle is not lost into some nameless void.    It becomes an investment into what we have to offer to those we encounter in life.  

It takes strength to invest in others.  To remain static and mourn the cost requires no effort.  It comes easy.  The act of investing in others, sharing what we've learned from our struggles, even admitting the cost defines us as strong.  It identifies us as people who have something of great value to offer those who they encounter.  It gives real meaning to our struggles.

My faith position tells me that I meet no one at random.   The "meaning" that I have ascribed to my journey tells me that I have something to offer them.