For all young people going back to school, now is a good time to check in. New classes, new teachers, new friends, old friends. There’s excitement and hope. That’s awesome. That enthusiasm and hope is what young people bring into the world. Thank you for that. That is your gift.
I also know that beneath all of the excitement, some of you are reflecting on the events of the last year. Some of you have seen a lot. You have experienced a lot. You want to know what needs to be done. How should we live? What are the big priorities?
So let me jump right in the deep end here. For those of you who have grieved the loss of someone, let me ask you a very difficult question: why does it matter?
Don’t, get me wrong, It does matter. But I want to know why it matters. Why, when someone we love dies, does it matter? Stay with me here, because I think I know the answer.
On the face of it, it really shouldn’t matter. After all, the one thing that every person on this planet has in common is our mortality. Birth and death are utterly common. They are as common as dirt. And yet the death of a loved one is not a common type thing, right? It totally tears us up, scrambles your brain, and turns your life upside down. Why is this?
Could it be that we are programmed for love? Could it be that it is love that connects us, and that when we lose that connection we lose part of ourselves?
This all points to a great mystery. The mystery is that while our hearts are finite, they point to something beyond ourselves. Our hearts point *outside* of ourselves. We can’t help it. It’s how we are made. 1600 years ago there was a very wise man who lived in the deserts of North Africa. He got it. And he summed it up in one sentence:
“Our hearts are restless Lord, until we find rest in you.”
Do you have a restless heart? How do you fill it? Are you using finite things to satisfy an infinite thirst?
When you’re feeling restless, remember a couple of things. First, things of this world are never going to satisfy your innermost hunger — boys, smartphones, attention of girls, video games.
Second, there’s a lot of people who will try to convince you that these things are important. They’re usually trying to sell you something.
Finally, how you live sets an example for others. You want to make a difference? Don’t worry about dumping a bucket of ice on your head. Be that light to others — be the light that shows that you have a restless heart and that it is being filled by something outside of yourself. This is what we call being in this world and yet not of this world — which is how we are actually created anyway.
Everybody likes organic foods, right? Be the organic you. Collecting virtual friends, worrying about how many likes you have, fretting about writing pithy and ironic one line responses to pithy and ironic posts. Boring!!! These are all pesticides that fill your life with things that will never make you happy.
You see, in the end, this is a call. It is a call to be who you were created to be anyway. Interestingly enough, this is precisely the you that the world needs. Interesting how that works out, right?