September 18, 2016
By Linda A. Dove
Today we are going to think about our collective purpose as humans and as UUs in the tough circumstances of our shared life in the 21st. century. Most of the time we focus on our own life-paths. I certainly do. And I am grateful for my life. But every few years, I feel restless. This is my intuition nagging me to refresh my sense of purpose towards a meaning that expands beyond myself.
I am not talking about fate here. Fate is when things are out of our control—or in the hands of the gods. Destiny is when we choose to make our lives meaningful. Emerson put it in a nutshell: The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.
In my experience, there are three stages in life when we feel the need to radically redirect our paths. You could describe them as youth, middle-age and elderhood. But, really, the stages vary in timing for each person. Some young people are old souls wise beyond their years. Some mid-life people behave like goofy kids. Some old folk, sadly, wonder whether their lives have had any meaning at all.
So, in life’s first stage, we begin to forge our destinies as persons. Let me share a little of my experience here. As a child I felt alone. But now I see this helped me think for myself and set my own goals early on. I made my first conscious decision to forge a purpose for myself when I was 12 years old in high school. I decided to focus on being a nerd—the pinnacle of ambition in my world at the time.