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Which One Comes First, Privilege or Purpose?

Updated: Jun 15, 2023

A few weeks ago I finished Matthew McConaughey's Greenlights audiobook, and it was better than I expected. What did I expect? Well, I expected a story filled with privileges and easy access to the best life has to offer since after all, he is an attractive southern white male in America. Don't get me wrong, I did find plenty of privileged opportunities throughout the book, but more than that his story was filled with perseverance, acceptance, maturity, wisdom, and purpose. Which in turn made me question, which one comes first, the privilege or the purpose?

As a woman of faith, I know the purpose comes first. God has plans for our lives before we are born and He uses life to prepare and guide us with this purpose. But at the same time my humanity, the Afro-Hispanic, immigrant-female side of me, can't help but notice how the privilege he was born with made the challenges he experienced vanilla compared to the average Joe. Throughout the book he talks about his family and the way his parents chose to raise him and his brothers. From childhood to the time he met the woman who would be the mother of his children today. His time in Australia and how he followed all the open doors and his jungle dreams as greenlights from the universe, and the closed doors as opportunities to grow or try a new direction. Which is the lesson or the point to the book. It is an invitation to the reader to be self-aware. Self-aware to take the opportunities given as a path to destiny.

Of course, he benefited from the privileges he was given along the way. He had more opportunities to try and fail without the fear of being blacklisted, unlike other actors. But that's the thing, privilege is only noticeable when one life is compared to another. Which is a problem on its own. Comparison is flawed as a metric system since it's dependent on the person's perspective, and can change on a daily basis. It can change according to weather, feelings, daily mood, or who you're talking to at the moment. You can feel your privilege when you compare your life to others while serving at soup kitchen, and later on that some day see someone else's privilege while you wait for the bus and they're driving their Tesla. What changed? the situation, which affects perspective or how we see things at a certain moment.

So then can we agree privilege is situational, but purpose doesn't change, and therefore, comes first?

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