What if there's a reason you're so very different from everyone else on this planet?
What if your Different has actually been specifically designed for you to help change the world (or, at the very least, your world)? What if the meaning of life lies in how you use your Different to do so?
If you really understood why you were different, what would you do with that knowledge?
Recently, I have been thinking a lot about the meaning of life, mortality, and using superpowers to help change the world. (You know, little things.) Some of this has been precipitated by a frightening health situation in a close family member (which we think might have turned the corner, alleluia); but honestly, my own recent and routine doctors' visits, preparing for a talk I'll be giving this weekend at Stephen F. Austin State University, the start of the latest session of the Path Finder, and even watching Superman for the first time in my life* has got me thinking as well.
I was raised Catholic, but I'm not a church-goer; still, I do have a pretty strong faith. Couple this with having spent the last few years photographing, writing about and otherwise communicating the individual beauty that I come across in all the people I meet all over the world, I've come to the conclusion that (a) we all have gifts -- each and every one of us, and (b) this fact can't be a coincidence: there must be a reason why we all have these gifts (whether or not we've yet to identify them). We're meant to do something with them, I think. Something altruistic and helpful and ... well, just good.
And even if I'm wrong -- even if there's really no reason for us to have these gifts, that there is no meaning behind it, and it's just some sort of evolutionary scientific luck-of-the-genetic-draw -- it still behooves us to use these gifts in a way that makes the world, or at least our worlds, a little better, don't you think?
This week, I managed to stumble across two things, related to two very different people, that are fanning the flames of these thoughts, so I thought I'd share them with you:
The first is the eulogy written by Steve Jobs' sister for his funeral. It is a long read, but an amazing one, and please, for the love of God, get to the very end. Tell me that doesn't make you want to go out and do something.
The second is this 20-minute documentary by Beyoncé about the making of her latest album, "4." I'm not a huge fan of Beyoncé's music, and this video is okay as far as documentaries go; however, what's unmistakable is her sheer determination, and her irrepressible drive to just create and make her art. Girlfriend lives her Different, and as a result, she's an inspiration. Make no mistake.
As you can tell, I'm in a pretty introspective space right now. I'd love to hear your thoughts, as well.
* With all due and proper respect to Superman fans, and while admitting that I totally get the appeal of the original Superman of DC Comics in general (and Christopher Reeve in particular), I have decided that this specific movie is one that is necessary for one to have first seen in the theatres in 1978, when one was around 10 or 11 years old, in order to seriously appreciate it. Because my word, this is a cheesy flick. Even Alex couldn't get over it. She now refers to Superman as "Goofy McWeirdPants." I swear she made that name up herself.
Images: Photographed with my Nikon D300. aperture 1.4, shutter speed 1/100, ISO 400.