“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” -Howard Thurman
I was racking my brain this morning for something to write about. Normally, I like to find volunteer opportunities or write something about the way we serve. However, I just kept thinking about my trip to Greece and what I learned there- and it brought me to the above quote (which has always been one of my favorites). I think a lot of times we all try to fit into this mold of activism based on who we admire. Don’t get me wrong, this can be extremely beneficial. For example, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. looked to Gandhi for his inspiration on nonviolence. Henri Nouwen looked to Jean Vanier for a model of living in community with men that have mental disabilities. We need other people and we need examples ahead of us. However, sometimes I think that we sell ourselves short if we are trying to follow another person too closely. For example, I know what I love doing and what I want to do. However, since no one I know of has a career in human services that has taken the exact same route as I hope to go, I get discouraged. I get nervous talking to people about my career goals because they seem desultory unless everything works out exactly according to plan (which it rarely, if ever, does). Yet, these goals make me “come alive”, and I really do feel a peace about pursuing them. This is all the more true after meeting people in Greece that have followed what made them come alive. I met an artist that is successful, a woman living her dream by sharing knowledge of her country all around Greece, and other people aspiring to goals that are both unlikely and wonderful.
All that to say, in order to change your world, you need to be alive. So, come alive. Do what makes you happy and the world will change. Obviously, this isn’t a lecture on self-indulgence. But, if you have an idea to make the world a better place, go for it! Don’t wait for permission