What is your purpose? That has been “the” question for ages. Aristotle pondered the idea of telos, which is Greek for ultimate goal, all his life. He saw order and beauty in creation because of how every living thing worked in harmony – how a seed became a plant, or a baby became an adult.
Every religion has attempted to answer the question, “why are we here and what is the purpose of life?” Many feel that there is no goal – that we just live and die. It is a question which can lead down many paths, and for some it can lead to depression, anxiety and even suicide. I understand the hopelessness for some if they truly believe there is no grand design.
I will not attempt to answer that question for my gentle readers because I think it is a journey we all must pursue on our own. As a person of faith, I believe life has a purpose, and that every human has worth. I believe in a grand design because I am awed every day at some small miracle. I will share some observations that may or may not help as you ponder your telos.
When I consider the night sky and see countless stars in the vastness of space – and feel small, but not alone – I see my telos.
When I saw the first the recognition of my face by my children, and the joy in their eyes when they did – I saw my telos.
When I hold my wife’s hand- I see my telos.
When I bow my head in silent prayer in moment of trouble, and a peaceful feeling washes over me – I understand my telos.
When I think about who my children are – and what they have become – I understand my telos.
When I watch the leaves in the trees on a beautiful spring morning, the smell of dew moistened grass in the breeze – I know my telos.
When I think about how all the blessings in my life, and how my understanding of the world is so small, but my purpose is clear – I embrace my telos.
When I see God’s hand in nature – the beauty of a flower or a sunset – I feel my telos.
I fear that in today’s information rich society, knowledge is understood as wisdom, and they are two vastly different things. I find it telling that some of the most troubled people I know are the smartest, yet bereft of wisdom and as such, peace. I believe if we take a moment to really look at the world, we can understand so much more than our physical senses process.
Take a moment and go to a peaceful spot – the beach, the woods, or your own back yard – and tune into nature and listen. You may just find your telos.