Saturday, March 17, 2012
Figuring Out Our Life's Purpose
I've been watching Oprah since the days when she was on a local TV station in Baltimore. I find her to be a source of inspiration. For years, she's been telling us that we each have a life purpose and that it is our duty to figure out what that is and then share our "gift" with the world. Every time I hear her talk about finding our purpose, I'm reminded of my seventh grade language arts teacher, Mrs. Zimmerman.
Mrs. Zimmerman wore heavy makeup to cover scars on her face. I never knew the full details of how she got the scars, but the rumor was that she had been in a car accident. Some of the kids made fun of her, but I thought she was beautiful. She had an inner beauty that came through in her smile and gentle disposition. She knew that we, as adolescents, were trying to figure out where we fit in the world. She had a knack of applying every novel, every play, every poem, that we read to our own lives. One of the most memorable lessons she was us was that we each had a special talent, a gift, something we were really good at doing. I took that lesson to heart and began the search for "my gift."
But somehow, while going through all the challenges and changes of growing up, I forgot that lesson. I stopped searching and just lived for each day. When Oprah began reminding us to figure out our purpose, I was in my late twenties and the search started again. Here's the thing, it's now thirty years later, and I still haven't figured out my "purpose."
I can usually figure out other people's gifts pretty quickly, but I can't seem to figure out my own. I'm even starting to wonder if I have one! Now that I'm getting older, and feeling time is running out, finding what I'm good at has become more important than ever. I have thought about it, journaled about it, and prayed about it. Still, I'm lost. I think that it's more than just being passionate about something, it has to be something I do well enough to make a difference.
I raised two sons who despite any shortcomings I had as parent, grew into wonderful men that any mother would be proud of. I'm a teacher, and that has been an important part of my life. I hope I've made a difference in the lives of my students.These roles have given me a purpose to wake up every morning, but I'm not sure that is the same as a life's purpose. Does that make sense? It seems like there is something else that I'm meant to do that I haven't figured out yet.
Maybe I'm over thinking it, but I don't want to grow old and have regrets or feel that some part of my life was unfulfilled.
So, I'm wondering how other people have found their gifts, their life's purpose? Does our life's purpose change through the stages of our life? How is it that some people are born knowing what they came to this earth to do? How did you figure out what you are good at? Did someone tell you, or did you just know? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic. It's late and my vision i blurred so I'll close now. I hope I haven't embarrassed myself by revealing too much about my inner craziness, but if I''m struggling with finding my pupose, maybe some of you are too?