When you give of yourself something new comes in to being... the world expands, a bit of goodness is brought forth and a small miracle occurs. You must never underestimate this miracle. Too many good people think they have to become Mother Teresa or Albert Schweitzer, or even Santa Claus, and perform great acts if they are to be givers. They don't see the simple openings of the heart that can be practiced anywhere with almost anyone.
I sometimes like to think of God as a great symphony and the various spiritual paths as instruments in an orchestra. The gift that you have is like music waiting to be played. You need only to find the instrument that will best bring it out. You alone can never play all the instruments, and your music might not find voice in all the instruments. All you can do is find the instrument that suits you best, play it as well as you can, and add your music to the great symphony of divine creation.
There are many ways to seek wisdom. There is travel, there are masters, there is service. There is staring into the eyes of children and elders and lovers and strangers. There is sitting silently in one spot and there is being swept along in life's turbulent current. Life itself will grant you wisdom in ways you may neither understand nor choose. It is up to you to be open to all these sources of wisdom and to embrace them with your whole heart.
This is not to say that becoming a father automatically makes you a good father. Fatherhood, like marriage, is a constant struggle against your limitations and self-interests. But the urge to be a perfect father is there, because your child is a perfect gift.
Like children, the elders are a burden. But unlike children, they offer no hope or promise. They are a weight and an encumbrance and a mirror of our own mortality. It takes a person of great heart to see past this fact and to see the wisdom the elders have to offer, and so serve them out of gratitude for the life they have passed on to us.
It is not easy for a man to be as great as a mountain or a forest. But that is why the creator gave them to us as teachers. Now that I am old I Iook once more toward them for lessons, instead of trying to understand the ways of men. They tell me to be patient. They tell me I cannot change what is, I can only hope to change what will become. Let the grasses grow over our scars, they say, and let flowers bloom over our wounds.
The Buddhists have a story about blind men trying to describe an elephant by feeling it's various parts, and each describes the elephant according to the part he touched. That is the way we can hope to know God.
That is why we need to travel. If we don't offer ourself to the unknown, our senses dull. Our world becomes small and we lose our sense of wonder. Our eyes don't lift to the horizon; our ears don't hear the sounds around us. The edge is off our experience, and we pass our days in a routine that is both comfortable and limiting. We wake up one day and find that we have lost our dreams in order to protect our days.