February 6, 2011

Youth as a Time of Searching

Pope John Paul II wrote, in Crossing the Threshold of Hope, that youth is a time of searching for answers to basic questions. He notes that we’re not only looking for meaning in life, but also “a concrete way to go about living” that life.

As a youth struggling with how to fulfill my mission on earth, how best to use the gifts I’ve been given, I can definitely relate to this observation. I am full of questions, from “Where to begin?” to “How?” to “Then what?” and I’m overwhelmed with advice, from family and friends, to career counsellors, to self-help books, to the saints and the Gospel itself.

It’s a very humbling experience, because when you’re in school, all you have to do is what’s expected of you. You know the drill and the rewards are clear: study, work hard, get good grades. But as soon as you leave that comfortable bubble, things are no longer so clear cut.

In everything that I’ve been learning from this experience, the strongest lesson is this: that I am not alone. I am not the only one who is uncertain. And I am certainly not the only one who cares about making a difference in this world, who wants work that is meaningful and truly engages my spirit.

The prevailing message in this world is that, when you get to a certain age, you’re supposed to have it all figured out—or at least pretend you do. But the reality is that, with ever-increasing options for work and the ever-changing nature of the job market, it becomes even harder to choose.

But choose we must. And what we decide to do with our lives is our responsibility and gift to God.

[Photo from here.]

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