The recent passing of Penny Bright got me thinking about her tireless and fearless fights. Other people came to my mind too, e.g. Helen Kelly, Lecretia Seales, and Nelson Mandela.
Some people talk about their “calling”, others mention “purpose” or “dream” or “faith” (not necessarily in a religious sense); there are many words for essentially the same thing and often it isn’t expressed or explicitly labelled but simply some kind of an inner feeling or intuition.
What these people have in common is a strong conviction, an inner strength and energy that keeps them going, day after day, even when the going gets tough. Undoubtedly, they face obstacles, challenges, frustrations and disappointments; it comes with ‘territory’ some say but don’t we all experience these kinds of life’s curve balls?
Some may succumb to the thousand denials & deniers, the negativity, the ridicule, the countless falls & get ups and they may give up and then often become bitter cynics or angry persons.
How do they know that they’re fighting (for) a just cause? How do they know that what they do and who they are has a purpose, a true meaning? They cannot be absolutely sure, that would be bordering on obsessive, and doubt may well be their constant companion. But even if they leave the path so to speak, they will return to it again, as if an inner guide or compass redirects them back. I reckon this is one hallmark of a “just cause”: one never gets truly bored or enough of it unlike so many other (fruitless & futile) pursuits in life.
I admire these people who obviously have found or discovered their just cause, somehow, somewhere, sometime; it never is too late …
I may not necessarily affiliate with their cause but these people are truly inspirational especially once you get to hear their story, often deeply personal and very moving, sometimes after they’ve already (long) gone …
But here’s the thing, it’s not just the people that we know and that we hear about; there are many more ‘ordinary’ folk, great unsung heroes, who quietly go about their just cause, whatever that might be.
And one more thing, it never is about them! They genuinely and deeply care about others; they are forgiving and compassionate and give (time & love) without expecting anything in return.
There are two quotes (there are many variations on the theme as one can imagine) that capture the essence:
A life not lived for others is not a life. [attributed to Mother Teresa]
A life not shared is a life not lived. [unknown]
What’s your just cause?