One of the reasons why I love to spend time in good conversations is because it really takes me out of my little world and shows me the diversity of life and ideas that surround me in the people in my life. One thing that does not often occur to us is the fact that there are so many different ways to live life.
Consider the following example: the perception and experience of a small boy in a village in Africa is vastly different from a successful CEO in New York City. The surrounding contexts in which these people grow puts a chasm of separation in the way each of these two view and experience life. The gap is so large that it is hard to imagine that these two live on the same planet. And that is just one comparison. The world is full of millions of different cultures and languages and peoples and ways.
There are so many ways to live life.
What is more striking to me, is the fact that this chasm of difference often exists, not only between people who live on opposite sides of the planet, but also between people who live on opposite sides of town…or who live on opposite sides of the street…or hall. Indeed, we can live very close to someone and intersect lives at many points, and yet have completely different perceptions of our surroundings, goals, values, etc.
When we take the time to listen to the people around us, to put ourselves into their shoes, we quickly begin to see that there is so much more to life that our own little personal bubble of goals, likes and dislikes, and whatnots.
To me, this is a very enriching discovery, but it is also a very challenging one.
Most of our lives we live rather passively. But at times we must stop and ask ourselves – how do WE live our life? Of all the options, what kind of person should I seek to become? On what should I gauge my focus? Towards what shall I strive?
Some say, “Look inward. Discover within yourself your own direction and way.” But to me that is a dead end. Over and over I myself have seen how I have failed to live up to the things that I thought I really desired and stood for.
Some say, “Look outward into the people around you, and learn from the good in them to make a new version of that good in yourself.” But how are they any better than me? We are all humans and at our core deeply fallible. This too is a foundation that is full of holes.
The christian answer to this question is one that fascinates me: there is One who is behind all this wondrous world that surrounds us. He has communicated himself to us in the most objective manner: in the form of a book, and in the form of a person.
Within the biblical worldview, we get a clear picture of life from the most important perspective that can be: God himself. In the story of Jesus, we get to know life as God knows it. We get to learn to see and experience everything in the ultimate way because we get to learn it from the One who invented it.
Compared to this, any human wisdom or experience seems so deeply inadequate. Without a shadow of a doubt, this is the direction that I want to move in. This is the perspective that I want to adopt. This is the life that I want to learn to live.