The Fountain of Youth is Inside us All
Tales are told of explorers that spent significant energy, time, and resources searching for the Fountain of Youth, pirate treasures, the City of Gold, Atlantis, and other significant things. For many such explorers, they never found what they were looking for, and the question always lingers over their tales – did the item they searched for actually exist, or was it just a legend?
When reading their stories, it is easy to smile at the ignorance of someone searching for a Fountain of Youth. But, it is harder in our own life to see if we are falling prey to the same deceptions as they did.
What if we are working and searching for things in our own lives that do not exist?
This is an uncomfortable question to ask, as it suggests that we may be spending some of our time and efforts in search of the non-existent.
But, sadly, in my time as an attorney, I have seen many people aggressively pursuing things that simply do not exist. By the time people learn on their own that they are searching in vain for something that does not exist, it is usually too late to remedy the loss of everything they gave in search of the non-existent.
For some reason, it is often easier to put in long hours at work rather than addressing the issues we have inside. It may feel easier for us to avoid confrontation than it is to address an outstanding dispute. We may turn the TV on again hoping for some sort of entertainment to hit the spot, only to find that the feelings of emptiness continue.
Happiness exists though, which means that it is different than a Fountain of Youth that does not. Using the explorer analogy though, searching for happiness in some places will be the same as trying to find the Great Pyramids of Egypt in Utah. It simply won’t happen, as the Great Pyramids do not exist in Utah.
In other words, to find what we are searching for inside, we have to align at least two basic principles:
First, we have to be searching for something that actually exists; and
Second, we have to search in the locations in which it actually exists.
If either of these are off, we will simply not find what we are searching for, no matter how hard or extensively we look. While this sounds basic in nature, it is surprising to see how often we ignore these basic principles and put extensive effort into searching for that which we will never find in the areas we are searching.
Take, for example, those that believe life is meaningful if they give and help others. Many such people have a sincere desire to help others, as it can produce a deep sense of satisfaction and meaning in life. To find this satisfaction and meaning though, many become convinced that they have to find it by first becoming rich.
In the pursuit of riches, many seem to never find that they have ‘enough’ to then be able to help others. They keep working and working for a tomorrow that never comes, a point that never truly exists. Marriages often fail on this path, family relations break down, and years go by without any meaningful contributions to others. Many start to question God and whether He exists as their lives maintain a sense of hollowness to them.
The illusion in such a belief about needing wealth first to be able to help is that you can help and contribute significantly to others around you, all the time. You do not need money to really impact a life, or, the little money you have can go a long ways if used in the right way.
The paradox with money is that the meaning and satisfaction in life that comes from helping others comes not from how much we have to give, but from how much we sacrifice to give it. The more we sacrifice, the more meaning and satisfaction we will find. Of course, the pursuit of wealth isn’t the only place where these two principles may not align with achieving the real goal inside. We often turn to many places searching for something that we simply will not find there, such as:
Watching more movies in hopes that it will help us be less depressed;
Eating more junk food to try and address the stress inside;
Keeping ourselves busy to help us feel important or needed in life; or
Avoiding our internal issues while expecting that others solve their issues first.
Happiness, fulfillment, meaning, and purpose all exist. They are real destinations, but we will not find them in many areas that advertise them being there. Instead, they are found through principles of caring for another, sacrificing something that we want to help someone else, recognizing the value and worth of those around us, and understanding that the most important work we can do that day is to help the person closest to us at that moment.
Just as it should have been important for the explorers searching for the Fountain of Youth to stop and question if they were searching for something real, so too we should stop and ask if we are searching in the right locations for some of our deepest needs and desires.
Otherwise, we may end up in a never-ending pursuit of the Fountain of Youth, only to find that our own lives have passed us by and opportunities to help or change things for people have slipped through the cracks.
Good exists. We just must look in the right places and be willing to do what it takes to find it.
At Believe, we want to work with individuals who believe that good exists and that are working to help build and expand that good. We are a community of people who work and help each other, and we would love to have you join us.