There are two ways to live life. One is to live as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is to live as though everything is a miracle. - Albert Einstein

I've always believed that life has a purpose, that it has meaning above and beyond the everyday mundane rituals that we go through. When we were young, we spent much of our time learning to adapt to the world, learning to find our feet and figure out how we fit in the world. But as time goes on, and as we become more comfortable in our situations, we're faced with the question of purpose once more. This question often comes at different times for different people, and can come in many forms as well, but I believe that at the end of the day, each of us must come to terms with the fact that there must be something behind the seemingly random events that make up our existance, and decide for ourselves whether or not that something is worth pursuing.

It is the pursuit of this something that I believe ultimately gives definition and clarity to our character.

Paulo Coelho refers to this something as our Personal Legend in his book, The Alchemist. I love the imagery that title conjures up. Personal Legend. Adventure, grandeur, excitement. Our personal adventure is one that is meant to bring fulfillment to our lives, one that is meant to complete us, to make us whole. And yet so many go through life never experiencing the fullness
of the journey. Fewer still have experienced its completion. Though many know of its potential and power, few are able to grasp it and pursue it. Why is that?

In The Alchemist, Coelho tells a wonderful story of a young farmer boy on his journey through life. With nothing to his name but his flock of sheep, the boy has enough to survive in the world - he knows how to take care of his sheep, how to shear them for wool, how to bargain with the traders for a good price - and yet he yearns for more. It begins as a mere inkling - the curiosity of the world out there, the thought that there might be more beyond the edges of his country. Coelho takes the reader on a journey of discovery with the boy as that spark of curiosity blossoms into a full passion to discover his Personal Legend.

Though many may understand what their Personal Legend is, few ever get past the dreaming phase of the process. The reason? A lack of motivation, yes, but also a lack of encouragement! We are a relational people. We need others to push us, to encourage us, and to cheer for us as we pursue our journey. For it is not just the journey that is important - those that push us to start the journey, those that accompany us along the way, and those that cross the finish line with us are often just as important. Isn't it ironic that in a world which grows continually smaller, with technological advances that allow us to communicate with anyone at the press of a button, we often find ourselves alone. We are surrounded by people, by information, by technology that keeps us connected. And yet we're still lonely.

Herein lies the problem. For some reason, we've lost the ability to build strong, meaningful relationships, and it is this loss that nips the pursuit of our Personal Legend in the bud. We dont have anyone to push us from the starting line, nor do we push each other to strive to greater heights. We dont have people that walk with us every step of the way, helping to shape us while being shaped themselves.

And because we no longer pursue our legends, we no longer stand on the other side and look back. We no longer realize that at the end of it all, it was the journey and not the destination that was our legend. We no longer look back at how far we've come, and realize that life really has been worth living.

So now the question we have to ask ourselves, is whether or not we're happy with this situation. If we aren't, and I really hope we aren't, then we ought to change that. We ought to learn to have those great, challenging relationships, ought to be willing to take the risk of leaving the place we call home, ought to come to the crossroads of life many times, and never choose to turn back. Are we ready to pursue our own Personal Legends?



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