Sunday, April 8, 2007

Search for meaning

In Viktor Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning" he says in the preface to the 1984 edition, "Don't aim at success - the ore you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one's personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for succcess: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long run - in the long run, I say! - success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think of it."

Today started out as a good day. I heard from a friend, if he can be called a friend (he's actually a kid I mentor), that he couldn't make an appointment tomorrow. At first I was saddened. OK pissed. I really like working with this kid. He has a great outlook on life. He's so full of life. Sometimes, I need to be reminded that there is life. When he text messaged me I was disappointed. I work hard to help this kid. But then I realized, I don't work as hard for him as he does for me. I further realized how much he gives up to spend time with me when he could be with his friends and doing other teenage things.

So as we texted back and forth, he tells me that he is giving up a chance to go to some sort of Olympic tryout thing for soccer. He's really, really good at soccer. Since working with him, I've come to have an appreciation for the game, so it gets me angry when sportscasters dog on soccer. He works his ass off. Of course, as a photographer on the sidelines, I'm focusing on the team as a whole, but I'm proud of him when he assists or scores. Almost as if he's my kid.

So when we come to a situation like this morning, I get kind of bummed. Then I read Frankl's preface. How can I push for happiness. What right do I have? I need to let it just happen. So I did. I stated down the road to depression today, but worked hard to find the good things in my life...this kid is one of them. He said, "We'll work something out" so that he can be at his soccer thing this weekend and I'll get the practice in. I can't deny him his dream of playing soccer. It's not fair. Yeah, I'm selfish, but not that selfish. We can work it out. That makes me happy.

Happiness in the long run? Maybe it's not so long a run afterall.

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