Often we are doing good things in the world, doing good things for people, yet we still fill unfulfilled and anxious. Even at our most peaceful and relaxed moments, we still feel out of place like something is amiss, like being in a dream and wondering if we are asleep or awake. We wonder why we exist and what humanity’s purpose is for existing.
Of course, we can throw out all the popular theological jargon and attempts at answers such as existing to love God and people, to take care of our planet and its inhabitants. But eventually, those answers are not satisfying any longer and we return to an awkward mental state where we feel as if we are just another sailor trying to find our way across the seas with the stars being of little help.
I wish I had the answers as to why these feelings occur. What experience has taught me though, is for me not give these feelings weight, to not give them room to grow. I spend time with friends, I finish the project, I listen to the life journey of loved ones and we share what we’re thinking and feeling. But I don’t give those thoughts and feelings fertilizer to grow a forest. The search for some answers in life will not be found until the next.
When you examine the life of virtuous leaders, one thing you’ll discover is their practice of retreats. There, they are replenished, most of them (in my experience and understanding) prayed. But they always returned to humanity to serve. To do good. To put other’s desires and needs above their own. I do not get the impression they wasted away their day pondering the meaning of life or ripping out their hair, or disturbed at all that they couldn’t answer every single question. They rested, rejuvenated, and then they re-entered the world.
With our busy schedules and the west’s pressure to always be performing, we tend to miss the parts in our hero’s lives where they enjoyed life. We merely focus on their hard work, feats, and victories. Did they not celebrate at weddings? Parties? Family reunions, enjoy the company of friends and loved ones? Of course they did.
Get away. Rest. Pray. Enjoy the company of loved ones. Work hard at something you believe in and are passionate about. As the old Franciscan monks said, “Work, play, pray is the rhythm of life.” When one of these elements are missing or out of balance, they believed life would feel the same.
Did you enjoy this article about leadership and seeking balance in life? Make sure to check out The Mason Jar, a coming of age love story from the male perspective by James Russell Lingerfelt. The novel helps readers find healing after severed relationships.
The Mason Jar movie is scheduled for pre-production in 2015 and will be directed in the same dramatic and romantic tones as The Notebook (2004) and Pride & Prejudice (2005). Follow him on facebook or twitter for updates.