Mark Twain tells us that the two most important days in life are the day we were born and the day we find out why! I have an anniversary of the day I was born fast approaching. But I’m afraid that 53 years away from the first important date, I’m still waiting for the second important day to happen.
I’m not sure there is that one defining day when you find out the reason that you were born. I certainly can’t think of one.
When I think back to my Catechism classes, I remember the answer that we young Catholics learnt in response to : Why did God make you? God made me to know Him, love Him and serve Him in this life and to be happy with Him in the next. I can honestly say that I’ve tried to live out this belief that I learned in childhood.
How Am I Called To Serve?
The puzzling question always for me is how am I being called to serve? Sometimes, I would imagine that it’s some big achievement or the creation of a lasting institution. But somewhere down the line I’ve realized that it is not that for me.
If there’s one thing I am called to be is a wounded healer – a person who despite all my brokenness is called to listen to others and help them find their way in the world. I’ve had some success and failure with that. But I know that many people tell me they feel understood when they share with me. The challenge for me is to not attempt to rescue people and listen and understand without needing to find solutions for them. I need to allow people to find their own way – that is true empowerment.
The other thing I know I am called to do is to write from my heart. If my writing can help even one person understand herself better, I know I have my reason to be.
Are you clear about the reason why you were born?
I’ll leave with you something I really love (often wrongly attributed to Emerson) – a definition for success that I’ve tried to live by:
To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.
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