Hopefully we’re all back safe and sound from wherever the holidays may have taken us, having enjoyed seeing family and friends and celebrating the season.
With the new year having arrived and all the resolutions being made, I thought I’d wander back on over to Japan for my linguistic fun this week; ikigai is a word that was popularized in the 60s in Japan, meaning ‘purpose in life’ or ‘reason for living’ or something along those lines. It seemed appropriate for a time when we’re all examining habits and ideas and ideals we wish to keep and which we wish to break.
Basically, it’s a descriptor for what motivates you to get out of bed every morning; to go to work and to just…live. Each person’s ikigai are going to differ, of course; each person’s priorities are different. What we seek, what we value, what we choose to spend our time doing…that’s all rather individualized.
But also we can have collective reasons for living, collective purposes, and indeed as followers of Christ, of God, we are expected to share certain ones.
To be loving and kind, to be patient and gentle, to have mercy and seek justice…they’re not things that we’re, necessarily, always actively thinking about, but they are things that should inform our decisions, inform the way we choose to live and things we choose to give our time and energy to.
But we must always also remember that having some common purpose does not mean we are expected to be clones of one another. We are all called to our individual purposes and ways of serving and spreading the love of God, and one being different from another does not invalidate it.