I have always wondered why I didn't have a "why". That thing they ask you when you were a kid, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Very recently I asked my mom, if I ever just burst out knowing what it was that I wanted to be, to which she replied I had no ambitions, per se. I have to admit I don't recall as well. Oh, I tasted guitar, piano, cooking for groups, participated in Girls Scouts. I even took extra biology classes in high school because I thought I wanted to go into medicine. But nothing really "turned me on".
I must have wondered what was wrong with me.
When young folks begin to question why am I here and seemed to at least have some clue what direction to take, I felt lost. My peers would come up with something to focus on whether it was college or a professional career... Even happily choosing to be a homemaker. Me? I went to college because that was offered to me and it seemed a shame to not go. But I didn't want to be there - I didn't want to be anywhere.
I think I never knew what I was supposed to be doing with my life. I tried college, I really did try. But something about it just didn't resonate with me. Again, I wondered what was wrong with me. Even up until very recently I asked that question. Why didn't I have at least a glimmer of why I am here. This has given me much distress. I felt stuck. I felt jammed up inside. I poured myself into my marriage relationship and raising my kids, all the while just feeling lost and in over my head. I see now that that was the crucible that formed me and shaped me to be who I am today. But at the time, I still wondered if I was missing something; what's wrong with me?
I lit up when I went to church. Finally here is a place with some answers. I thought I'd find myself in the church and ultimately it led me to a relationship with God and the Greater self. In retrospect, I did get a big leg up on my spiritual journey. I began to taste what it is like to trust something I can't see. It gave me my first glimpse of the unknowable... that it is OK to NOT know. In those days, I just accepted the God knew and that was enough.
But God, with infinite wisdom, also had plans for me. I have learned that God won't just give us the answers. I prayed for wisdom but didn't realize that in asking for wisdom I was asking for trials and life lessons; that the wisdom/answers unfold in the journey, the journey being heavily sprinkled with hard things with just enough light to keep me going.
While society has been "pushing, shouting, cajoling us through the media to find our purpose. "Discover your passion!!" "Everyone has a reason for being"... All the while I was struggling to exist. Hungry for wisdom, I absorbed it from the Bible at first, and later from other sources of wisdom. And of course, being enrolled in the University of Hard Knocks as a lifetime student was my biggest instructor.
Still, that find-your-purpose track played over and over. Pure torture for me. What's wrong with me?!
Only very recently, something quietly prompted me to ask what's right with me. In my quiet times, I'd ask myself that question. What's right with me? It wasn't comfortable at first because the answers seemed too simple. Smile. Shine. Be open. Be kind. Just be.
I had to sit with that - be kind? Shine? Be open? What the hell does that mean?!! Not easy for someone who felt obligated to produce to contribute like an iconic figure. Nevertheless, I am learning that just being is my purpose. At this moment, I am living, loving, sharing, shining... Does it matter that I am only affecting one person at a time? Does it matter that I only know just for that day, that moment, why I am here? It is my purpose to just be and in that be-ing - to shine. Maybe Mother Teresa, or Gandhi, or Jesus or Marie Curie, or Einstein, or Mel Robbins will have a bigger shine than I have.
Big or little - we are all called to contribute. Who am I to judge how important my contribution or being is? Is it sensible to be jealous of a tall African American who can score baskets over and over? Or a gymnast who can leap and twist and bend when I can't? or a scientist who lets the universe fuel their research into the unknown when I can't keep two thoughts in my head at a time? Or compose songs like Taylor Swift when I can barely rhyme? So why am I comparing myself to more celebrated beings? Some are called to do big things. I am not. And that is okay. Besides, who says my "little" contribution is not as important as their "big" one? I don't know where I got the idea that I had to be "big", do big, make big contributions. But somehow I did.
Not all of us can be the sun. But then a candle is far more valuable than the sun when it is dark.
Brighten the Corner Where You Are and This Little Light of Mine are two wonderful songs I learned from the kids' bible classes. I love that their application goes beyond that narrow bible application. Not all of us can be the sun. But then a candle is far more valuable than the sun when it is dark.
What's right with me? It is that I am paying attention to what happens in my life. Trying to stay "in this moment". Because this is the only moment I have and as it turns out it's a lovely moment. The last one was and I expect that the next one will be, too. Maybe this moment I will see a lovely view, or next I'll talk with a loved one. Or sit with a thought. Or smile at a stranger. Tidy up the house or yard. Or wait for my car to be serviced. Or bandage a cut. Or pray with a friend. Watch the kitty breathe or smell the rosemary as I weed whack, or hug a loved one or...
I am so glad you are part of my journey. I am grateful for every lovely moment we have had together and I look forward to the possibility of having more lovely moments in the future. Thank you for being you.