The following was written by Mark Huber.

I recently watched Top Gun Maverick for the third time and yet it gets better every time. Whether it is the action or the gritty humor, there is something that everyone loves. However, for me, it was the message about the purpose of life.

Now in order to find it, we have to understand the situation that we are in. I believe Top Gun gives us an excellent reminder of that. “It’s not the plane, it’s the pilot.”

Sure this movie is about flying planes and completing a military mission but it damn sure reminds me of all the lessons I have learned. The lesson of taking control. Were we made to back down from every challenge we face? No. Are we supposed to wait for life to give us what we want? No.

Take control of the life you were given, don’t let it control you. Find that broken friendship and fix it. Accept that addiction and break it. Go out and coach a team full of little kids, a sport that you love.

We have a life worth living and I am determined to find my purpose in it. God did not create us to just lay around and see what comes our way. Sure, patience is important, but patience is not laziness. We see too many people nowadays giving up. We are losing that hope from our younger days. 

Why do we only see darkness in our future even when there is a bright light shining right at us?


Viktor Frankl said in his book Man’s Search for Meaning:

“It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life daily and hourly…Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.”

Life does not give us meaning, we give life meaning. When Maverick and Rooster were piloting an F-14, did they let the situation of being in a dogfight with the next-generation jets define the results of it? No, they knew they were the ones in control and not the situation that they were in.

The world is a wonderful place and, dare I say, it is because of the difficulty to find purpose. News flash people, life is not full of daisies and roses. You win some, and you lose more.  

I think Romans 3:23 has a perfect reminder. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” 

I can even argue that part of the purpose of life is to fail. There are times when I ask God, “God, when am I going to get my purpose, when am I going to get my happiness.” What I fail to realize is that I already am. Is it really true happiness if you are given it? No.

In Augustinian teachings, we are taught that the ultimate goal is happiness. However, we don’t achieve it through worldly goods but instead by living a life of virtue. Each virtue shows a small glimpse of happiness to come. The happiness to come is not here on Earth but up with our Creator in Heaven. 

That is the next purpose in life. To live a life of virtue and faith. Live a life of struggle to build up. It is not about the life we are given but what we make of it.

“It’s not the plane, it’s the pilot.”

So yes, it’s not the life, it’s the person living it.

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