PBS's "guns germs and steel" miniseries, based on the book of that name, closes with a quote from a Zambian health care worker in which she says, "The control of malaria will mean an improvement in the welfare of the people, and an improvement in the welfare of the people will mean increased productivity, and increased productivity will mean that we will be a wealthy nation, because that will mean that then people will have sufficient, not only food but sufficient time to do things that make a human being complete and whole and able to lead a fulfilled life."
...To lead a fulfilled life. These are big words. There is so much behind the idea of leading a fulfilled life; and the factors that lead one person to live such a life, when another does not, seem almost beyond comprehension. I too, in my greatest estimation of myself, am dedicated to seeing that people around me are able to lead a fulfilled life. Most of us are, it seems.
And this is why it is so difficult for many of us... for me... when those around us fall short. We, I, wish to impose my will upon them, to give them the gift of fulfillment. But fulfillment can only come from within. We can create the environment for fulfillment, increase the chances that if one desires to attain fulfillment, they have that oppertunity. But we cannot give it to them. We cannot wrap it up in a box and leave it at their door. They must themselves, not only reach out and grab it, but strive for it every day... by themselves.
And waiting for them is the hardest part. Who is to say that they will finally get there? How do we know that they are determined to stay on the path? Must we have faith that all will work out in the end? How many have lived before us, only to have this same faith misplaced and unrewarded?