Friday, May 1, 2015

When Your Purpose Is Closer Than You Realize

I truly believe that everything that we do and everyone that we meet is put in our path for a purpose. There are no accidents; we're all teachers - if we're willing to pay attention to the lessons we learn, trust our positive instincts and not be afraid to take risks or wait for some miracle to come knocking at our door. - Marla Gibbs

The #1206 “fiction” series continues …


Abigail awoke with a start, momentarily confused as she looked around.  Her cancer treatment had weakened her significantly and so she was always grateful for an opportunity to lay down and rest.  She looked around in confusion, wondering why she was no longer sleeping in her own bed.

“Do not be afraid, Abigail”, a voice spoke to her gently. 

She looked around apprehensively to determine where the voice came from but could find no obvious source.

“Do not be afraid”, the voice repeated.

“Where am I?”, stammered Abigail, slowly awakening from her slumber.

“That is difficult to answer in a way that you would understand’, replied the voice, “But you are safe and that is what matters.”

“Who are you?”, she asked, still looking around furtively.

“That is probably more difficult to answer”, replied the voice, “And is not important right now.  I am here to help you with your transition.”

“Transition to or from what?”, asked Abigail.

The voice ignored her question.

“Before you move on”, it said quietly, “I need to know what you have learned in your Lifetime.  If you could offer one observation or ask one question about your Life, what would it be?”

Abigail’s brow furrowed as she reflected on the question.

“Anything?”, she asked.

“Anything”, the voice replied.

“Well”, began Abigail, “I’ve always lived a boring Life and could never figure out what my Purpose was.  I read every book I could find, listened to all the experts, tried all the ‘magical cures’ for happiness and I still never figured out what my Purpose is.”

“What your purpose was”, corrected the voice.

“Was?”, asked Abigail quizzically.

The voice paused for a moment before replying.

“Did you ever feel that the advice of all the ‘experts’ made you feel worse?”, asked the voice.

“Why, yes”, replied Abigail, “They always made finding Purpose appear so easy and effortless that when I couldn’t accomplish it, I thought I was stupid, inferior or lacking in something that everyone else had.  When I had those thoughts, I always felt worse when I couldn’t seem to find my Purpose while everyone else claimed to have found theirs.  Even in places like social media, it seemed like everyone was living their dreams and I wasn’t”.

“Did it ever occur to you that they weren’t living a Life of Purpose either but they portrayed a story to the contrary in order to convince you or themselves that they were?”

“Why would they do that?”, asked Abigail.

“The human ego does unusual things to compensate for its insecurity”, replied the voice.

It paused for a moment before continuing.

“May I show you something?”, asked the voice.

“Yes”, said Abigail uncertainly.

An image appeared in front of her and she was transported back to when she was a young girl.  She saw herself cheering up a friend of hers who was feeling down.  She remembered Margaret well and had often wondered what happened to her elementary school friend.

“Your friend, Margaret”, said the voice, as if reading her mind, “Went on to become a doctor before going overseas to serve with Doctors Without Borders.  She once confided in a friend in medical school that it was the encouragement of a friend in elementary school who gave her the inspiration to become a doctor.”

The image was replaced by another from about 15 year ago.  Abigail observed the image with a mix of sadness and embarrassment as she remembered the scene well.  She had fallen on hard times and was begging a friend for financial assistance.  Her friend had hesitated significantly before begrudgingly helping her out.

“The lady you were asking for help from had stored up quite a nest egg in her lifetime”, observed the voice.  “Her intent was to die with it intact.  When you asked her for help, she didn’t want to help you but in helping you, something changed in her and she spent the rest of her years serving others in need.  So your moment of need became an opening to a greater Purpose for both of you.”

The image changed again to an event that had happened only last week.  She was sitting in a coffee shop, weak from her recent chemo treatment and fighting the waves of pain and nausea that had become part of her daily regimen.  She saw herself stand up slowly to leave and as she did, she turned and smiled to a sad looking young man seated at the table beside her.  He responded with a faint smile in return and she left.

“The young man you smiled to was struggling”, said the voice, “Your smile sent him a message that he mattered just when he needed it.  Where he goes from here remains to be determined but your smile saved him from an end that I don’t care to discuss at the moment.”

“I don’t understand”, replied Abigail.

“You don’t?”, asked the voice, “Perhaps you would like to see more memories.  I can replay thousands of them for you.  I have as much time as you need.”

“But I don’t understand what these things have to do with my Purpose”, she protested, “I did all of these things but so what?  I still never found my Purpose.”

“You never found your purpose, Abigail?”, asked the voice, “I am trying to tell you that you have been living it all along.  That which you sought was something you lived every day. You were just so busy looking for it outside of you that you didn’t realize that it was living in and through you every day.  The truth is that you served and lived your Purpose perfectly.”

The voice paused before continuing.

“Your call to Purpose is not based on some book you read or some inspirational speech that you hear.  Your call to Purpose swirls around you every day.  Whether or not you answer the call depends on whether you are sensitive to what is swirling around you and if you observe such things, whether you say ‘yes’ to what they call you to do.”

“You said ‘yes’ many times, Abigail”, the voice concluded.

Abigail said nothing as she reflected on what was being said to her.

“But why doesn’t someone tell us this?”, she asked.

“If we did”, replied the voice, “Then you might try to cherry pick your Life experiences, seeking to find only those things that are good, useful or comfortable.  You would definitely seek to avoid the most important experiences in Life, those which are often uncomfortable, painful or frightening.”

Abigail nodded as the truth of that statement settled inside.

A light came on in her mind and she suddenly realized that she had spent years seeking something that she was already living.

“I get it”, she said excitedly, “I think I really get it.”

She paused for a moment and then stated with emphasis, “My Life will be different from now on.”

“Well”, said the voice, “That is more true and more complex than you realize.”

“What do you mean?”, replied Abigail.

“Your Life as you know it is transitioning.  That is my purpose here – to help you with that transition.”, the voice said, “The Life you knew is no more.”

Abigail sat in silence, afraid to ask what that meant.

“Don’t worry”, the voice said, appearing to read her mind again, “This is a natural step in the journey of your soul.  The lesson you have learned here today is important and here’s why.”

Abigail listened in silence, occasionally nodding as the voice explained what was to come.

To be continued.


© 2015 – Harry Tucker – All Rights Reserved

Background

With this musing, I am not suggesting that we should never strive for greater things when it comes to the creation and realization of Life Purpose.  I’m also not suggesting that we accept anything but our best effort in living Life to its fullest.

However, it is a suggestion that sometimes that which we strive for is closer at hand than we realize …. including our Purpose.

And when we think that Purpose is a monumental, grandiose thing as defined by the “gurus” of our age, it oftentimes is a collection of the smaller things in Life, creating a greater world than we realize.

Reflect upon these questions today:

1. What should I do?

2. Where should I go?

3. What should I say and to whom?

What do the answers tell you to do?

Create a great day, because merely having one is too passive an experience.

Series Origin

This series, a departure from my usual musings, is inspired as a result of conversations with former senior advisors to multiple Presidents of the United States, senior officers in the US Military and other interesting folks as well as my own professional background as a Wall St. / Fortune 25 strategy and large-scale technology architect.

While this musing is just “fiction” and a departure from my musings on technology, strategy, politics and society, as a strategy guy, I do everything for a reason and with a measurable outcome in mind. :-)

This “fictional” musing is a continuation of the #1206 series noted here.

8 comments:

  1. Those who make better choices make bigger ripples... all ripples shape reality.

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    1. I enjoyed reading this segment, Harry, and hope to read more!

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    2. Thanks for your kindness, Steve. :-)

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    3. Thanks for your kindness, Steve. :-)

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  2. Thanks for this, Harry. Here are my "take home messages":

    When we consider ourselves as having a purpose in life we are actually selling ourselves short. We don't have A purpose. We have purpose. Purpose isn't a discrete thing. It's continuous.

    How does this translate into living our lives? It doesn't mean we shouldn't plan ahead and come up with great schemes to do good. However, we should understand that we are potentially blessings to everyone we come across and they are blessings to us. This should give us mindfulness and enable us to live in the present.

    An analogy here might be a work of art (which is something we can consider our lives to be). A painting isn't created in one stroke, but every stroke counts. A song isn't created with a single note, but every note counts. A story isn't written in one word, but every word counts.

    Let's take Jesus as an example. Most say his purpose was to die for our sins, defeat death and rise from the dead. However, if ALL he did was that, would it have had the impact that it had? Would it have transformed us like it did? When the woman touched is clothes trying to be healed, did he say, "I'm kind of in the middle of something." No. Everything he did counted, and enriched his overall purpose is very important ways. He's a teacher who knew that you can't just skip to the end of the lesson or there IS no lesson.

    I'll keep this in my heart as I start this week. Thanks again, Harry.

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    1. Thanks for your kind comments, Nathan.

      After reading your response, I wonder if you should be writing this blog instead. :-) Great build!

      Create a great day!

      Harry

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