“The central purpose of each life should be to dilute the misery in the world.” ~ Karl Menninger …
When I read or watch the news, it is easily apparent that there is a lot of misery in the world. We can witness it occur on huge scales after a massive earthquake or hurricane, or in places where there is drought or famine. Sometimes it happens on a much smaller scale, in a neighborhood with drug and gang violence, or in families where abuse takes place. Unfortunately, we can never rid this world of misery; such a task would never be possible. We can, however, lessen its intensity. We can be there for others and help them through the pain. We can help them to see and feel hope, and to understand that good can come from their pain. We can share with them the meaning of compassion and help them to realize that there are better times ahead.
The one constant with misery is that it tends to keep us from feeling hope–it traps us into thinking that the way things are now is the only way that they can be. Thus, bringing hope into the lives of those in need is perhaps the most important thing we can do as individuals to lessen the intensity of the misery in the world.
Of course, we can also contribute to diluting the misery of this world by giving of ourselves–our time and our talents. Help is needed at the local food banks, counseling centers, and other places that serve the sick or destitute. Providing help to IDPs can give hope to the seeming hopelessness of these victims. Other groups such as Habitat for Humanity are a great way to give hope to others. Even something as simple as visiting neighbors, friends, or strangers in the nursing home to show them that others care. And if we do not have the time to volunteer for such things, we can still offer up our best in everything that we do. Above all, it is important that we give up our need to see the results of our actions, for such need more than likely will lead to frustration and possibly keep us from giving fully or giving more.
Diluting the misery in this world is an act of selfless compassion… it is love in action at its finest. And it is as simple as finding things that can help others around us–even something as simple as being there for a loved one in need or a grieving friend. When we make our contributions, no matter how small or insignificant they may feel, we are beautifying the world around us and adding positively to the larger purpose in life.
Find purpose today in helping others find hope and compassion.
Questions to consider:
In which ways might you help to dilute the misery in the world, in your own special ways?
What benefits will there be for you if you do things to help other people through hard times?
What would happen to the people of this world if we stopped helping each other?
For further thought:
“To desire and strive to be of some service to the world, to aim at doing something which shall really increase the happiness and welfare and virtue of humankind,–this is a choice which is possible for all of us; and surely it is a good haven to sail for.” ~ Henry Van Dyke, Ships and Havens