At a presentation last week, Harvard lecturer and best-selling author Tal Ben-Shahar shared this wonderful story about finding purpose in our lives.
A man on vacation in Italy wanders onto a construction site and asks the first labourer he sees “What are you doing?”
“I am laying bricks”, replies the worker.
He walks on to a second labourer, a mere twenty meters from the first, performing exactly the same work and asks “What are you doing?”
“I am building a wall”, comes the answer.
Finally, the man walks over to a third labourer, doing precisely the same work as the other two, and asks “What are you doing?”
And the labourer replies: “I am creating a cathedral to celebrate the glory of creation.”
Purpose is not something to be found only in grand endeavours. It is present all around us in everything we do, if we but have the eyes to see it.
In the timeless words of Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.”