Over the past few weeks I have had leaflets pushed through my door from various prospective councillors telling me what their- their parties- aims and goals are should they be elected as councillor following voting day. Now that the votes are in and our new councillors elected, we wait, with baited breath, to see if these goals are achieved!

At work we pursue activities driven by goals we wish to achieve. In achieving these goals we feel our task is done and we move to the next tasks. This makes for successful business – achieving our objectives and moving on and forwards to the next challenge or goal.

However, in our personal lives we should, perhaps, consider things from a different perspective. Life for us can become one long round of setting goals for ourselves; achieving them, feeling good about them for a bit and then dissatisfied.

Instead of finding ‘lasting contentment’ we simply set more goals for ourselves; we just need more money, more friends, more experiences etc.

The gap between us and contentment widens.

The gap is not being filled by getting what we want!

Leo Tolstoy, a Russian, went through much of his life trying to find ‘meaning, contentment and fulfilment.’ He achieved many things which gave him satisfaction for a short while but was still left with deep questions as to what it all meant. In his young life he was a solider in the Russian army. Returning home he was fortunate to inherit some wealth which he put to good use and became an extremely wealthy person. Through this he became famous and thought of as a great man, indeed he was titled Count Len N. Tolstoy. He became a novelist and one of his famous and extensive works was titled ‘War and Peace’, its publication being read around the world, he was soon acclaimed a world famous writer. Fame, fortune, success, he had it all but was still not content.

Tolstoy found contentment for his life when he read these words ‘come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.’ These words transformed his life as he began to ponder the meaning and look at the life of the one who uttered them. From his continuous striving through life, with fame, fortune and world renown he had this deep spiritual awakening on hearing these words. His life changed profoundly and this is reflected in his later work which took a Spiritual direction which greatly influenced people like Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. The words that transformed his life were found in the Bible, uttered by Jesus.

Padre David C Haslam