The Luxury of A ‘Life Purpose’
Perhaps it’s that time of the year again, or more likely I’ve just gotten more in tune with these messages but it seems that nearly every where I turn, there’s yet another message of ‘answering the call’ to your life’s purpose.
And while I have no doubt nor any qualms about the reality of a true ‘Life Purpose’ I cannot help but realize that in the lives of so many, potentially the lives of the majority, the idea of a ‘Life Purpose’ beyond the purposes of one’s current life, seems more and more like a luxury than the necessity that it is made out to be.
As I contemplate my own grandmother’s life, one filled with many an untold hardship, and tinged with many bitter experiences, it seems incredulous that she could imagine living out her life in a calling greater than the one she had already answered. Five daughters, two buried hardly out of their teen years, a husband who died suddenly, leaving her with the daunting necessity to find a means to survive. Her life purpose was solely to survive and to live the best way she knew how.
As I listened, and in all honesty enjoyed Elizabeth Gilbert’s interview on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, insisting on finding her life’s purpose through the means of travel, as documented in her book Eat, Pray, Love; as I reflect on the subtle, or perhaps not-so-subtle message of there being a ‘call’ in Coelho’s The Alchemist, I find myself coming back to hero’s of our today who find their Life’s Purpose, not in the urge for adventure or the quest to still a unquestionable yearning, but to simply live and do what they felt they had to do.
The romanticisation of a Life’s True Purpose is always beheld in the telling of it – backwards.
Mother Theresa’s desire to alleviate the suffering of the sick and needy in the slums on India, became a life’s purpose when she continued to do it for all the years of her life.
Malala Yousafzai has become the poster child for educating and equal rights for the girl, not because she set out to be, but because her own desire for education was greater than fear of the untold horrors that stood in the way.
We so love the idea and notion of there being a greater purpose, a destiny that makes our lives meaningful. And we are all sold on the greatness that lies in the stories of the people who stand up in courage, who embrace fear, hatred, worry and yet wish only the best to those that have hurt them, the Luther-Kings and the Gandhis of our world.
Our comfortable, modern lives cajole us to look beyond our current easy place to become someone we define as being ‘of value’. And yet, what if, being of value is simply being here where you are, present in every moment, in every day, embracing all that your life offers you?
What if Life’s True Purpose, is simply living the best way we know how, every day, every way? And when we can begin to believe THAT to be Life’s True Purpose then we begin to live our True Purpose every day.