Psychologist James Hillman understandably insists that we have to recover a glimpse of our true destiny from the deadening materialistic ways we usually interpret our lives:
“We dull our lives by the way we conceive then…By accepting the idea that I am the effect of…hereditary and social forces, I reduce myself to a result. The more my life is accounted for by what already occurred in my chromosomes, by what my parents did or didn’t do, and by my early years now long past, the more my biography is the story of a victim. I am living a plot written by my genetic code, ancestral heredity, traumatic occasions, parental unconsciousness, societal accidents.” (The Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling, Random House, 6)
Hillman so clearly recognizes the emptiness of a life built upon merely genetics and “societal accidents” and reminded me of my own self-despair. Years of psychotherapy had stripped me of any conception of dignity, meaning, honor, value, or purpose. I had become nothing more than a result, and the only source of value or purpose left open to me was that of enjoying my now painful and dysfunctional life, something far beyond my grasp.
Many years of searching have taught me that we are designed to find our value by connecting to Something greater than ourselves. Without this connection, we futilely pursue the company and autographs of the rich and famous, join the “in” crowds, or wear designer clothing. It took me years to learn that living was a matter of dying, of giving up my vain attempts to forge an impressive identity. Instead, I found joy in this understanding:
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)