He sat across from me with a strong daring look on his face, this man who has known me most of my life and therefore knows when I am avoiding something I find uncomfortable and gets a fiendish delight from pushing my hidden buttons.
I had just finished giving him and his extraordinary wife the update of my ever changing cancer journey when he gave me this challenging and quite saucy look that penetrated any defense I could possibly muster and asked,
“so, what’s your purpose?"
His wife froze, and in the silence that hung after the question she cautiously said, “oh no, he’s going to go deep”. It had the feeling of an old Western duel in the middle of town; people were pulling children back, women were frantically closing their shutters and a tumble weed gently blew down the dusty evacuated road.
This question is one I had been asking my entire life, or rather I should say, I've been in a grueling tug of war attempting to figure out my entire life. It was in this moment when the question was tossed out daring me to answer in any other way but truthful, that the truth became crystal clear… I have no idea!
I laughed when I said it out loud and felt a relief wash over me as I saw that this Battle Royale I had going on with purpose finally come to an end. After this realization I confidently added, “but, I think I’m about to find out”.
For as long as I can remember I subscribed to the notion that life involves one grand purpose, and I've been on high alert, waiting for a dramatic ‘a-ha’ moment to reveal itself to me. But this narrow focus and definition of purpose has kept me from seeing that each day has its own unique purpose attached to it and that,
when I do what I do purposefully, then I am living with purpose.
Purpose isn’t something I need to find or earn, it’s something I experience in the moment. Its not underestimating how smiling at a stranger or helping a struggling neighbour with their groceries is part of that days purposeful agenda. Every act I complete has a purpose, and my job is to make the motivation behind my actions one of kindness and compassion always executing them with joy.
I now define my purpose as a life of being purposeful. It is the sum of every act of kindness, it involves:
- sharing my gifts.
- being thoughtful and kind.
- being happy.
- sharing my story.
- just being me.
After my response to the question, my worthy opponent tossed a proud smile my way seeing that after 43 years,
I may finally be LIVING with purpose instead of SEARCHING for one.