It's important that we each find something to satisfy us in this life, or else we run the risk of becoming bitter and discontented. Whether you find your satisfaction in simple pleasures, like having a good home, a good job, or that special luxury item that you always dreamed about as a kid; human beings need their mental salves. Yes, it may sound all too worldly and materialistic, but that's the truth. People need something to look at and say, "It's mine," or "I accomplished that." When it comes down to it, they need to give their life meaning.
The world we live in is often filled with hardships and disappointments. Most dreams are simply that, fanciful ideas that remain nothing more than a figment of our imagination. How many aspiring actors never see the silver screen? How many childhood athletes fail to get a professional sports contract? How many amateur writers linger in obscurity? Millions, surely, and those unfulfilled dreams linger to define us.
It is necessary to find something to fill the void, to supplant the ambition of our dreams, or at least dull the pain of falling short. The religious among us will no doubt point out the value of God in this struggle, and as a believer I most certainly agree, to a point. However, sometimes it helps to have something more, a purpose or prestige that augments one's own existence.
While many Christian purists will tell you that God should be the be-all, end-all of one's attention and focus, the nature of that service is what I dispute. I don't agree our job in life is merely to read the bible and worship like a penitent peasant, waiting to die and be taken up. As Galileo said, "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forego their use."
I'm not discounting religion, or denying that one should seek to understand God. What I am saying is that the nature of your search and worship need not be confined to simple subservience and monkish attention to scripture. God gave us great gifts of mind and body, and he intends for us to accomplish something with them. This leads me back to my original point, about satisfaction.
Within each of us is the innate desire to better ourselves and the world around us. We are tasked with understanding the nature of our existence, and furthering mankind's knowledge of the universe in all its forms. It is implanted deep within our very souls, the desire to know God, and the first step toward seeking God is to understand the truth of his creation, which is everything.
Of course, it is a slow and arduous process, and something that none of us can seek to achieve in total (at least, not in this life). Yet, we have a need to learn, and beyond that we have a desire for meaning. We are compelled to do something of importance, but in many cases we are incapable of achieving that. We go through our ordinary lives, seeking to make up for our inability to impact society, dreaming of being something more than we are. That is why we need material things, to give us the illusion of improvement. So long as we can look at something that we're doing or have done and say, "That's my contribution," then we can feel better about our mortal existence.
Perhaps it's all in vain, a failing of our human emotions, but it is something we truly need at this stage of human development. Make sure that you do something to impact and benefit the future in some small way, and you will find a greater contentment. Be careful of your chosen tasks and always seek the truth, no matter where it leads.
(*I was born at 3:36 AM on April 7, 1980, which means the minute this post goes online, I will officially be 32 years old. Bully for me!)