Have you ever asked yourself, “What am I supposed to do with my life?” or, “How did I get here?” I have asked these questions several times throughout my existence. Those questions regurgitated at the occurrence of every life-altering event. I did not receive a definitive answer that appeased my perplexed mind.
I always knew I had a purpose. I was confident that my existence was intentional. My entire life confirmed this revelation. However, just having a purpose was too broad of a concept, I thought. What exactly did this mean? Inquisitive by nature, I have always looked for the meaning in everything. I sought to find those things that were imperceptible to the naked eye. I wanted to understand the complexities of life; I had a need to make sense of everything. Philosophically inclined, my mind naturally drew to that course of study. Hindsight reveals that too much of anything can be excessive. Needless to say, in my youth, I spent a considerable amount of time thinking about my purpose.
A few days ago, my cousin and I had a discussion. Before I continue, I must explain two things. First, I am an extrovert so talking is a hobby and a gift. Second, I have an enormous family which means that I have frequent in-depth discussions. On this particular night, my cousin asked how and when I knew I was on the path to my destiny. She asked if I had an aha! moment. My answer was that I had multiple aha! moments and did not always recognize them. I further explained that ruminating on my life divulged that I was deafened to the voice of my intuition. This prevented me from receiving the messages the universe was sending. My impatience periodically silenced the voice of the creator.
I elucidated that, for years, I thought my career was my purpose. I was proud to tell the story of the little girl with congenital heart disease that grew up and surmounted the odds. There was power in sharing how I shattered all of the expectations and limitations placed upon me. There was merit in that story until all at once it ended. All seasons come to an end, yet where did that leave me? Confused, angry, sad, and determined to find another “purpose.” I explained to my cousin I felt as though I had reached my nadir and was on the brink of destruction. I “lost” my identity. I could no longer serve my purpose, or so I thought. I had the “stinking thinking” syndrome, and it held me captive for a while.
With encouragement from my husband, I began volunteering. Giving my time and sharing my story was life-changing. I was asked to speak to an audience of women. That was the aha! moment that again changed the course of my existence. Every nod of approval, teardrop, thank-you, and hug inspired me. I felt comfortable and at home. There was a feeling of nostalgia as I recalled the first day I began my career. The familiarity and intensity of the instant where your passion and compassion intersect. The defining moment you realize what your life is for and you offer your gift to the world.
After this aha! moment came my MS diagnosis and several other catastrophes. The difference was that with each trial, I stood on solid ground, fully ingesting that although my paths and courses in life may change, my purpose is immutable. I discovered that I have been blessed to bless others and saved so that others may live. I am graced to know that there is glory in my story and each day I live to see is borrowed time. In stillness, I hear the voice of the creator reminding me that I have been constructed to survive, thrive, care for myself and others, and share.
Therefore, in speaking with my cousin, I realized that aha! moments fill our lives. When our minds and spirits are of one accord, we can follow the path that leads to our authenticity. I no longer search for my purpose because it has been unearthed. Instead, I ask, “What are the intended lessons of my life, and how can I share them?” After all, silence is not an option because my voice is required.
The intent of this week’s column is to share the revelations learned in my aha! moments and to reiterate that your purpose has already been inscribed. MS, chronic illness, and adversity cannot prevent you from what you’ve essentially been formed to do. Allow life to guide you in its direction.
‘The meaning of life is to find your gift. The work of life is to develop it. The purpose of life is to give it away.” –David S. Viscott
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