“Having a Purpose in Life Gives All Other Things Purpose”
A few years back, maybe 20 or so now, I overheard a conversation that has stayed with me ever since. I was waiting in line for a morning coffee and two men, one older and the other my age at that time, where chatting in front of me. I didn’t catch the beginning of their conversation, nor was I around to get the ending. However, I did pick up on an assertion coming from the older gentleman. He said, “When you find your purpose in life – it gives all other things purpose.”
When I first overheard this, I thought about that conversation and what must have lead to such a strange statement. Until then and even after, I have not heard those same words or concept from anyone else. That man’s decree swirled around in my head for several hours, turning into days and then weeks. I’m not sure, but I think the reason that man’s proclamation was so impacting on me, was that, at that time in my life, I had been living in a homeless/treatment facility for over a year.
I’m not sure about anyone else who has lived in a homeless program, but for me, I continuously wondered about my purpose in life. Was my purpose, like so many other men in that building, to be a long-term homeless man traveling between shelters ending up with my name in the newspaper seeking the next nearest living relative? That really wasn’t my overall ambition at the time because I was attending a local community college. Boy, those two worlds as very far apart. My days would be spent on a college campus full of fear trying to assimilate as a typical college student, followed by concerns about making curfew back at the facility.
I used to think, “If that old man is correct, then this could not be my purpose. And if it is not my purpose, what purpose would finally give purpose to all this? If that old man was right about finding your purpose in life gives all other things purpose – what the heck kind of purpose awaits me after living in this place for two years?” This is why that man’s statement so altered me. I could not come up with a scenario that would provide a later life purpose for living in a homeless program.
It was very hard to imagine that someday I would look back on this time and state, “Oh…so that’s why my life was this way and I lived in this program.” Believe me when I say this, having to smell the pungent stench coming out of my roommate’s shoes is not a design for a purpose driven life. Those shoes were already foul and abandoned, for all the right reasons, when he found them.
Well, as it turns out, that older man’s statement 20 years ago has merit. It seems, finding a purpose, places all past experiences as indispensable and very much needed in order to have arrived to this present day.
A life that has finally found purpose, would not want to change one single day of that past life. All of those past days were required in order to find this current day’s purposeful life. A life that has purpose is so overwhelmingly grateful to have found this purpose, any thoughts of altering the past is quickly retracted as those alterations would have risked not having found this purpose (Note: I had to re-read that past sentence a few times to make sure I understood what I just said).
Regardless where anyone is currently, when someone finds their purpose in life – it gives all other things purpose. Folks don’t have to believe that statement and I’m sure there are many that don’t/won’t. What I hope, is that folks who have not found their purpose, believes that there is a purpose for every life.
The path on the way to that purpose, regardless of where it is or begins, is the exact route needed to get there. If you do believe this and think you will never find a purpose, relax, you are right where you are supposed to be. Enjoy the journey.