IN 2013 a book was introduced that addressed three questions.
Why am I alive?
Does my life matter?
And, what on earth am I doing here?
Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life hit the Bestseller list within days after completion. Even though written from a Christian perspective it wasn’t just Christians who read and reflected but atheists and agnostics, as well as those from other religions.
Why? Because no matter the race, color, or creed each of us search for our purpose in this, our only lifetime.
The purpose-driven life became dinner and coffee date conversation. Even without reading the book, just the title made an impact.
Below are four meaningful quotes I often read often to remind myself that I was born for a purpose.
“When you find your WHY, you don’t hit snooze no more! You find a way to make it happen!” – Eric Thomas
“The secret of happiness: Find something more important than you are and dedicate your life to it.” – Daniel C. Dennett
“It is mental slavery to cling to things that have stopped serving its purpose in your life.” – Chinbone J. Chidolue
“Did you know that every human being is created with a purpose and that they have a responsibility to not only discover their purpose but also to fulfill it?” – Zig Ziglar
Our lives as we knew it changed13 months ago. Survival of the fittest is a frightening way to live. Not knowing if tomorrow will be one of the last days we walk this earth takes away hope for any future we envisioned.
Who can blame someone for being scared to death? We were ordered to stay in place and wear masks, as one sneeze, one handshake, not only threatened us but our entire family. When the virus was first announced many of us wore gloves and disinfected every can and carton after it was delivered or brought into our home.
On top of being plagued by a deadly virus, political and cause-based protests gave us reason for even more worry and uncertainty.
There is little doubt that living in fear drives us to think more about mortality. It can lead to self-centered thoughts and feeling invisible. Anxiety can paralyze emotions and consume our every thought.
We can’t change the past or present. But there are ways to combat the panic, helplessness, and anger. How? By connecting the old fashioned way.
I’m old enough to remember the time when someone fell ill, or had an operation or accident people lined up at the door with casseroles, desserts, or flowers in hand. Phone calls were unending, asking if they needed help or were thinking about them
I don’t know when people began disappearing into their proverbial cocoons but it happened. Suddenly everyone became too busy to care.
The only silver lining of this deadly virus is that it’s given us time to adjust priorities. And what greater priority is there than connecting with others? There’s a reason there’s so many of us and it’s because we were designed to lean on, depend on, and care about each other. Separate the word MANKIND and the meaning becomes much more than just being human.
Connection is not about giving a thumbs-up on a post. It’s about physically showing up on a doorstep or shoveling someone’s driveway who is frail or ill, or calling out to a next door neighbor and asking if everything is alright.
Those who live alone without children, a spouse, a significant other, or a roommate are at the greatest risk for depression, anxiety, or giving up on life. Lonely, isolated people live in every neighborhood and apartment complex. If you don’t know who they are find them. Tell them you’re thinking about them by ringing a doorbell or leaving a note with your phone number with a written message asking if they're okay. This isn’t pity. This is when “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” becomes more than just another quote.
There are homes like mine with a four-year-old shut off from the rest of the world. No playmates. No playdates. There’s also an Uncle in remission from Stage IV cancer after being diagnosed last March, and myself, a senior citizen.
A few days ago my four-year-old raced down the hallway when he heard the doorbell ring. Standing on the porch was our neighbor Karri, her face masked; hands gloved.
The following is Luke and Karri's conversation.
“Hi Luke,” Karri began.
“Hi Darlin’,” Luke answered. (yes, he’s a flirt) Just then, he noticed Karri hiding something behind her back. Sensing a surprise, his eyes lit up.
Karri brought out an adorable child-size mailbox decorated with hearts and Valentine sayings. "Luke, I brought you something”
She handed him the colorful box. “Open it.”
With wide eyes, he took out peanut butter filled cookies, sugar cookies, Hershey kiss cookies, and a puzzle. “Oh my goodness, thanks,” he said with a huge smile on his face before running back into the house and shouting to his uncle, Papa! Papa! Look what Karri brought me.”
Karri had a purpose. The purpose was to make a child feel special; a child she sensed is overwhelmed because he hasn’t been to a park for over a year; a child who was excited to start preschool and play with other children and was told “not this year.’
What Karri didn’t know is that a few days before she popped by Luke asked why I had so many messages on my phone. I told him they were from friends. He looked up at me with innocent brown eyes and said, “I want friends, too.”
Karri’s purpose was a much-needed message to Luke, assuring him that he did have a friend who cared about him. Connecting with Karri meant the world to Luke. It's the little things that turn into great big things that make an impact.
The cookies were gobbled up quickly, and the mailbox remains on his dresser.
We are needed. The beauty of reaching out is that if one day we are in need someone will show up for us.
To focus on what we can do instead of what we can’t is not only healthy but healing.
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