A Secret Conversation: On Purpose

“What’s my purpose in Life?” asked the Ant, of the Man

If you’ve ever wondered, like most of here have, what your purpose is, in this life, perhaps this conversation might shed some light…

The Ant met a Man one day and thought to himself, ‘If anyone would know the reason for my being here, then the Man would know.’

‘For he is as powerful as any thing I know. He is able to control the wind and the fire, to fell trees and dig the earth, to change the landscape, sights, shapes and smells of the World as we know it, over night.’

The little Ant reasoned to himself. ‘So if anyone would know, the reason for my being here, then Man must know.’

And so the Ant, crawled up right up to the ear of the Man where he sat, leaning against the tree trunk and boldly spoke to the man.

‘O Most Powerful Sir, I have come to conclude that with all your great abilities and powers you must know so much more than I. And so it is with great deference to your knowledge and abilities that I beg of you, please tell me, what is this, my purpose here on this earth?’

The Man, stunned to hear this little voice pipe up in his ear, sat up and looked around.

Unsure that he had actually heard, what he thought that he had, he squinted his eyes and looked around. Sure enough, there boldly staring back at him was the darkest, shiniest ant he had seen in a long time.

To be fair, Man had never really taken the time to really look at Ants. Why would he bother, for they always seemed so busy, so assured of their tasks, routes and routines. He had assumed that the Ant always knew what he had to do.

But now, this question from this little Ant had thrown him.

How could the ant not know the value, the oh-so-great value that he contributes to this earth?

The churning and turning of the soil
The removing of decaying debris
The special symbiotic relationships with the countless other organisms from plants and trees to other animals

The list of the Ant’s contributions to the world, this great Earth, seemed endless to the Man, and yet here, right in front of him, was an Ant. Uncertain and unsure of his place in this world, his amazing contribution that on the face of it seemed so insignificant, and yet in reality held so much of the world together.

And so the Man turned and looked at the Ant, ‘And what do you think your purpose is here?’

The Ant, paused for a moment, surprised that Man had simply responded with a question. He had expected a long lecture, detailing how much more he could do, what else he could do better.

As the Ant tried to think of all the things that he did, day in, day out, following the well-trodden paths of his comrades, collaboratively contributing seemingly to some greater plan unseen, unfelt, unknown. The simple walkabouts every day, picking up bits of dirt and moving it back to the mound, the burrowing and tunnelling, it all seemed so insignificant to the Ant

‘It’s so hard for me to comprehend,’ the Ant began, tentatively, ‘how can I, one meagre Ant be of any use to this great Earth, when all I do is, walk about, carry bits of soil around and burrow tunnels to expand our nesting grounds?’

‘All those actions, seem so inconsequential to the large landscape in which we live.’

The Man pondered the Ant’s inability to even begin to comprehend the enormity of the role he and all his comrades played in keeping the world in balance. And then he realised that the Ant could not, and may not ever be able to see the bigger, greater wondrous picture of which he was such an important part.

No matter how much Man could try to explain to the Ant, how his walkabouts loosened the soil, and how his burrowing aerated the land and his picking up and moving dirt played a vital role in regenerating the earth, the Man realized that the Ant could never see beyond the immediate world in which he lived.

And yet, the Man knew that somehow, whatever he said next to the Ant would be crucial.

The Man leaned back in to the tree and closed his eyes.

For a moment, the Ant wondered if he had asked too bold a question of the Man. Perhaps he shouldn’t have pondered…

And then the Man spoke. ‘Little Ant, do you see the twinkling stars in the night sky and feel cool breeze’s kiss, and when you walk about, have you come face-to-face with gorgeous dewdrops on the flower blooms?’

The Ant thought for a moment and then nodded a vigorous ‘Yes’! Of course he had seen all those things, they were simply a part of the world he knew and lived in.

‘Have you ever wondered then, Little Ant, what purpose all those things serve, in this our beautiful World?’

The Ant replied instantly, without even having to muse. ‘Each and every one of those things that you speak of, O Great Man, are enormous influences in this our World, for without them the World would not be as we know it.’

The Man smiled, ‘And so you see Little Ant, you are no different from the stars or the breeze or the morning dew. Without you, the world would not be the place it is today, right now, this minute.’

‘Without you, the world would be smaller, lesser… poorer. For while you cannot see beyond the paths that you walk, or the tunnels you burrow, believe me when I tell you, that no matter how small you think your contribution is to this our World. It is a contribution so great that the world would be greatly diminished by the absence of it.’

‘Trust me, Little Ant. Your purpose is exactly as you live it. In your living day to day, whatever you do or don’t do, the World is infinitely richer and more blessed by it all.’

The Ant heaved a big sigh. How wondrous it felt to know that Man, and Man himself, no less, thought so highly and so much of him, a meager little Ant.

And as the Ant made his way home that day, there was a greater spring in his step, knowing with that great assured feeling that all of the World was blessed simply because he too was part of it.


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