I once heard “life purpose” defined this way: We all have a general life purpose, which is learning to love more. We also have a purpose that is specific to each of us. The speaker went on to take the mystery right out of it: What do you love to do, or are drawn to do? What are your natural talents or gifts?
What I loved about this was that “life purpose” went from being an intangible concept to something that made perfect sense. Why wouldn’t our natural talents and gifts be part of our life purpose? And it could be anything: writer, doctor, parent, teacher, artist, athlete, gardener, musician, and on and on.
There is a retired minister at the nursing home where my mother lives. I’ll call him Reverend Bill. In his mid-nineties, he has lived there for many years. Confined to a wheel chair, he uses his feet to slowly propel himself along. His fingers are bent and paralyzed, and his tongue protrudes at a right angle from between his few remaining teeth. And yet…his mind is still sharp, and he likes to visit with staff, fellow residents, and visitors despite having impaired speech. He is a bright spark!
He and my mother are old acquaintances. I was touched when he made the effort to come down a long hallway last week to wish us 'Merry Christmas.' The next day we met him in the lobby. Each time, his face and eyes would light up as if we were the ones he most wanted to see in that moment. As he chatted with my mom, it occurred to me that he is still living his life purpose. Even with all his physical limitations, Reverend Bill continues to be a vehicle for love and light.
As I think about my goals for 2014, I feel grateful for the gift of writing. What can I accomplish this year? How may I be a bright spark for someone else? I’m reminded what a blessing our talents are, and how much (or little) we can choose to use and develop them. To that end, my underlying goal this year is to write with (life) purpose and gratitude.
Happy New Year!