I have been aiming at purpose with a capital P. Whether in my prayer life or my life-life, I am trying to discern just Who I am and What I am supposed to do, and it’s a lonely road. I teach and I sing and I write but oh, how I would love to put a capital letter on one of those and run with it. Instead, I feel as though I am in some kind of waiting area, tying shoes while everyone else is miles ahead. I hate that feeling.
If I were a Teacher instead of just teaching, I would have a community within a school instead of a rolling case and pop-in classes. If I were a Singer instead of just singing, I would probably sing more, and in different places, and better than I do. If I were a Writer instead of simply writing, I could put something on paper in someone’s hands. If I were a Mother instead of occasionally mothering, there would be kids somewhere around here who needed me.
I am praying and working and researching and trying and I know that Something is coming because when I am very quiet and listening, which is not as often as it should be, I do feel that God is reassuring me of that. But I’ve never been good at waiting. So, I’m putting my energy into a new running goal and today on my walk home, I stopped at the Mary statue as usual, said a few prayers, and went over to the Chapel porch to stretch in the shade. Right behind me, as though he had been waiting, was a young man with a couple of backpacks and he sat down with Mary to pray. It was hot in the sun, and a few moments later, he tried the Chapel doors but they were stuck. I felt God leading me to try another door for him and direct the young man, so I got up and did that.
It was simple. I left my stretch, ran over to the side door, and called to him that the church was open. He smiled, thanked me, and made his way in. We both wished each other a good day. And in the quietest part of my heart, I felt God say that this was my purpose for today, to Help bring someone closer to Him. It’s a humble thought, the honor of passivity and noticing; that we should be led instead of aiming. Could it really be that the best thing I will do today was to open a door? That lowercase way of living can assault my ego or it can be the most fulfilling thing the world has to offer. For a moment, I understood.
If I work in capital letters one day, and the fruit of it doesn’t make lives better or more holy, it’s a waste of letters. If God truly wants me to Write, Teach, or Sing as part of a greater plan, I may have to sit on the bench a while longer, but there is work here too. As Mark Nepo said, the world tells us to “become a noun, but the vitality of life is in staying a verb.” My ego would love to be a Noun, but maybe the real, hidden grace is found in being a verb. Who knows the difference that ‘help’ and ‘open’ will make today?
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