I think most people want to believe that their actions are important and have meaning, but only so far as this belief doesn’t make them feel guilty or require real sacrifice. But to truly see the bigger picture… to see yourself as an irreplaceable and integral part of a larger network affecting the world is terrifying because then you're personally accountable. And to act within that knowledge and for the true benefit of others requires real courage and faith.
I think Owen Meany does a wonderful job showing how real, actionable faith is a huge responsibility and not always the comfort it’s promised to be. But once you see and understand and appreciate the connections between yourself, your family and friends, and the larger world, how can you not move toward right action? Maybe the sacrifice isn’t always rewarded and the good guys don’t win and nobody notices your work, but the real payoff is knowing that you’re never alone. That those connections will always give you strength. I’m an atheist, so where Owen sees God, I see community and family. But it’s still the same message.