The Mind of James Donahue

Finding Purpose

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Senseless Goals, Lost Paths And Wasted Lives


By James Donahue

August 2005


I recently read about Rafael Antonio Lozano who is attempting to drink a cup of coffee at all 5,715 corporate-owned Starbucks restaurants in the world. He began his trek in 1997 and to date has visited 4,775 Starbucks in North America in another 213 of them in Spain, England, France and Japan.


Also I recently saw a news report about Jim Dryer, a marathon swimmer who successfully swam fifty miles across Lake Superior. The swim marked his final challenge, since he already successfully swam across all of the other Great Lakes. Superior was his last remaining goal.


Then there is Baltimore Oriole star outfielder Rafael Palmeiro, among the most recent of a long line of sluggers found to have been ruining their bodies with steroids to build the muscular strength to strike those crowd-pleasing home runs during America’s most infamous time-waster, the game of baseball.


And do I dare include national hero cyclist Lance Armstrong, who overcame cancer to score seven consecutive wins in the grueling Tour de France bicycle race?


These are all stories about men who have devoted their lives to useless tasks.


What is it that sends people off on senseless life endeavors like these? Other than getting their names in the Guinness Book of World Records, just what is it that these people achieve? What will they have to show for their existence on this planet when death calls at their door?


Strangely, this writer understands the peculiar challenge of accomplishing such inane goals. As an ardent reader I once set out to read every book in our home-town public library. After reading my way about a third of the way across the first shelf in the fiction by authors with names starting with “A” I realized that not all books are of interest to me, nor are they well written or worth anyone’s time to be read.


At another time in my life I capitalized on a personal interest in naval history after learning that an estimated 6,000 ships lie sunk on the bottom of the Great Lakes. While living and working for a newspaper in a lake port city, I decided to research the history of every one of them for a weekly column and write books. 


Yes, I truly understand the call that comes to individuals to devote their lives to doing busy, nonsensical things.


Fortunately, I discovered the error of my ways before it was too late. Of course, for me, there was a lot of help from my loving wife and our children, both Aaron and Jennifer, who knew long before I did that the real purpose of our lives is to follow a spiritual path. There is a need to discover the deity within ourselves, to find meaning to our existence, and strive to evolve both mentally and spiritually.


Because I was trudging along to church every Sunday I thought I had that covered. Not only was I sitting in the wrong pew, I was obviously on the wrong path. Now that I have awakened, I now am devoting my time to racing on this path, trying desperately to catch up with the others who went there before me.


Who would have thought that my choice of paths would lead  into such an exciting adventure as I join a remnant of the human race in a fight for the very survival of our planet and our soul? That we would be caught up in a war between spiritual forces that I once thought did not exist?


As this battle encompasses our daily lives, I can only wonder how people like Lonzano, Dryer, Palmeiro and Armstrong can foolishly race around the globe, setting records in coffee drinking, swimming, bicycling and hitting balls, and overlook the real adventure going on right under their noses.


Tragically we know that if our race is not won, their accomplishments will be no more than memories turned to ashes on a dead and burning planet. The great soul of Lucifer that drives us all will be lost forever and we will be no more.


If more men and women with this kind of fervor for achievement would join our ranks, think of how much better our chances would be.

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