Some years ago, I was in a women’s meeting at church when the teacher asked “How many of you know what your life’s purpose is?” My hand shot up but I was surprised to see as I looked around the room that only a tiny fraction of the women in the room that day were willing to raise their hand. Maybe they knew and didn’t feel they could share, but I think it’s more likely they no longer knew what had once been planted in their hearts.
For me that day, I knew my purpose was to gather our children to our family via adoption from the four corners of the earth. At the time, we had 18 children from 6 countries. By the time we were done, we had 24 from 8 countries. For more than twenty years, my path, my passion, my purpose was to move heaven and earth to find my kids and then implore heaven and earthly angels to help me raise them.
But then those kids grew up.
As they grew, I found myself in the place of so many women in the class that day, unable to raise my hand and say “This is my purpose” – and I believed mightily that I had one. Was it to be a midwife? I was one but I had never had a very large practice because I did have a very large family. Was it to write and pass laws that would have a positive impact on families? I tried that too, by running for office, but voters let me know that they disagreed with me on that one. Twice. Well crap. Now what? Be a blogger? A communications director? A social media consultant? Grandma? Family Historian? WHAT WAS MY PURPOSE??
Guess what. After many years and much agonizing, reading books, attending conferences, praying, meditating, and getting in touch with my inner Goddess I finally achieved enlightenment in the mountains of Nepal. (True story)
It’s so simple, really.
And I believe it’s the same PURPOSE for everyone in this world.
To live a life that matters.
HOW we do that is different for everyone and it changes over time. It can be big – like adopting 20 kids, or starting a non-profit, or rescuing children from sex traffickers, or it can be small – volunteering at the local food bank, or reading in an elementary school classroom or taking a meal to a neighbor.
We come to this earth as Wordsworth said “trailing clouds of glory” and bringing with us a spark of the Divine.
I believe in each of us there is an inner knowing that we are meant to live a life of purpose and meaning, to live a life that matters. Far too often we get caught up in the day-to-day minutiae of jobs and kids and laundry and bills that we no longer know what our purpose is and if we did know, we have no time to pursue it. Surely there is more to life than dirty dishes, dirty laundry, dirty faces, corporate meetings, long commutes. But still, that longing persists. Do what matters. Live bigger.
What if I said you don’t have to trek to Nepal to find your purpose and live a life of meaning? That everyone – no matter how young or old, how rich or poor, married, single, kids, 8 kids or no kids – everyone can live a life of purpose today.
Come on, mama. I’m cheering you on in this journey.