We’ve probably all heard this story. President John F. Kennedy visited NASA in 1962 and came across a janitor holding a mop. He came up to the man and asked him what he did for NASA, to which the janitor replied, “I’m helping put a man on the moon!”
When I first heard this story many years ago, it was at a corporate seminar. With such a profound message, everyone around me seemed to beam with pride as they realized their part in the unified purpose of the company for which we worked. But the odd duck that I am felt differently. Is this all I am worth? Is this all I could ever be? It seemed all superficial and meaningless to be working for something that only cares about growing in the name of profit. While everyone else in that room were inspired, I was dispirited and disheartened. I wanted to be part of something that truly matters.
Fast forward a few years later and I saw the meaning of the janitor’s statement in a different light—in a much deeper, more profound, more meaningful light. We are all connected like the strands of an intricately beautiful web—but how and why? My mind grappled for a way to understand and appreciate my place in the universal picture of life. Where do I exactly fit in all of this? And how does following my own path matter in this connectedness?