He could foster a child and enlighten that child about a world he/she might never know without his help. Wouldn’t it spark something inside him to see a child’s reactions to things the writer may have experienced a hundred times and took for granted? There’s so much ugliness and anger in this world. He could play a small part in turning that around.
Or, if helping a child isn’t for him, there are many other wonderful causes to get involved in – aiding a cancer patient in hospice, being involved in protecting the environment, helping a small business – the list is endless and the need is so great. Any of these endeavors could help him relight his spark. Finding meaning in life can be as simple as extending a hand to someone who can really use it. – FOUND MY SPARK
DEAR FOUND: You and many other readers offered wonderful suggestions. I appreciate the spirit of helpfulness in which readers responded, hoping to inspire the writer of that letter. Read on for a sample:
DEAR ABBY: Tell “Wallowing” to pick up a course catalog from his local community college and enroll in some classes. He can take art and learn to paint, sculpt or make ceramics; study photography and learn to shoot better pictures; take woodworking and build furniture; take an American Sign Language class and volunteer to work with the deaf; or sign up for a foreign language, culinary or film appreciation course.
I’m just scratching the surface because community colleges have something for everyone. I have taught in one and been an administrator. It’s a wonderful place to “find” yourself, whether you’re 18, 88 – or 56. – DIANA IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR ABBY: If “Wallowing” is truly tired of dealing with most people, he may want to begin connecting with nature. He could plant or nurture a garden, or install a few birdhouses and let the birds happily serenade him each day. Engaging with nature can change a person for the better and can also change the lives of those around you. – NATURE LOVER IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR ABBY: May I suggest he have his vitamin D levels checked? I, too, experienced a loss of desire/passion for life when I was close to his age. Turned out, my vitamin D levels were extremely low. Once I started taking a supplement, my interest and excitement in life returned. – BEEN THROUGH IT IN KANSAS CITY
DEAR ABBY: Your advice should have included becoming active in a church, synagogue or charitable organization. Helping others, whether locally or on a mission trip, yields three results: It has a positive impact on those being helped, it increases the giver’s sense of self-worth, and it reminds us how blessed we truly are. – LOVER OF LIFE IN TEXAS
DEAR LOVER AND DEAR READERS: Amen!
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at dearabby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.