“Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
“The great quest of life has always been to discover truth.”
The people who shape our lives and our cultures have the ability to communicate a vision or a quest or a joy or a mission.
Yesterday, on top of a lot of other things I had to do, there was a memorial service for a very dear friend. I went early to the site to make sure I knew where to go. When I went in there was a giant collage of pictures of her on a large screen and I almost started crying. I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach and I couldn’t breathe.
Why do things like this happen? My friend was young, vibrant and beautiful. She had two young sons.
King Solomon wrote, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.” Proverbs 25:2
In other words, God doesn’t often give us the answers to life’s perplexities. He wants us to search it out. He doesn’t want us to be content with pat answers, homilies or second-hand advice. Why? Because life is complex. There are no answers that we can see, and there are many answers. But to understand injustice, loss, pain, and confusion, we are required to go beyond the ordinary.
The word “question” comes from the word “quest.” It is said that life is a journey, like a road trip. But I think it’s far more than that for those of us who want to live fully. I'm not on a road trip. I’m on a quest. I don’t want to meander. I want a destination, a reason. I’m on a journey with Purpose. It’s a journey in which I try to understand why I get lost sometimes and in this way help others answers their own questions and find their own way.
Though we can, as in The Fellowship of the Ring, embark upon this quest with others, we must, each of us, decide by ourselves to go. If we are lucky, we can find people who will go on the quest with us. Even if we are on the same quest, we might each have a different reason for going. It is said, “He travels fastest who travels alone.” But I’m not in a hurry. And I don’t want to be alone on this quest.
So how do I find my answers? For me, it involves the following:
These are the ways I process information and feelings best. These may seem very traditional, but they work for me. Don’t be fooled into thinking they are easy though. Take my writing, for example. Before I started writing this blog, I thought, “I don’t want to do this anymore. How many times can I say the same thing? I should quit.”
Then I started writing and all that went away. How many times have I fought this battle? Tonight was my 262nd time – one for each blog. That’s right. Every time I sit down to write, I get hit in the face with self-doubt. Every time. It never gets easier. The fear never goes away. Never. Until I start writing. And sometimes not even then. Still, I Keep Going.
Speaking is pretty easy for me. The problem I’ve had is getting speaking engagements. That’s something I need to think about. I’m fortunate to have my radio show and my You Tube videos as speaking outlets, but I want more.
Studying, for me, is the hardest of the three, but it also feels like the most rewarding. I enjoy tapping into the introverted part of me that just likes learning and being alone. What is best for me is to sit down, with books, paper, pen and highlighter and take notes. When I do this, I feel like a king. I am searching out a matter and this is to my glory. Also, when I do any of these things, I feel like I am beginning to understand life and my place in it a little better.
Of course, like most quests, this one is not easy. As I said, I get attacked almost every time I write a blog or do a show or a video. Again, as in Lord of the Rings, the Dark Riders are everywhere. For me, the deadliest Dark Riders are Fear and Distraction. I fight them every day! Still, in spite of the battle, or maybe because of it, I Get Started and I Keep Going every day. That’s all I can do. That’s all I need to do…to be royalty.