Monday, August 11, 2008
What is Your Life's Mission?
What do you believe in passionately? What is a thought or idea that you would stand up for even to a best friend or parent? These are two questions that I think many of of us never take time to consider, these days. Careers, jobs, families, and fun are what we live for...vacations and relaxation are the focus when work and responsibilities are on hiatus. That was true for me for many years until I started to really face who I was. As a young person I had a passion for those who had no one in their corner, those who were different and often picked on or ignored in our society.
Until just recently I didn't see it as a real passion until one single incident brought such clarity to who I really was that I started researching as many essays and writings on kindness that I could find. And what I discovered was there are hundreds and hundreds of them many of them by those who we might know as important figures in our world and history. I was certainly surprised as to the total focus on what seemed such a simple concept. I began to really examine what my own personal raison d'etre, might be. It just seemed to me that we run, or stumble through much of life just doing things day in and day out without having a center or reason why we do anything.
Many people over the centuries and throughout the world have given their children special names that spoke to who they wanted their children to be as they grew into adults. That meaning for a given name often was a lofty aspiration that over the years was to become a personal mantle that became the center of that individual's life. I have chosen a purpose just recently for my life from now on. It's a simple idea, but I think Henry James expressed it the best when he said, "Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. The third is to be kind."
We have way too many angry people in our world, people who hurt and belittle, or to whom the idea road rage, or any kind of rage in general is a constant mantra. Life is not simply to create wealth, or get ahead and leave a financial legacy for our families. But, it is to leave a real inheritance for those we touch every day, one that is centered in who we are to our very core. It often is thought of as patience, faithfulness, or even goodness but the best word that conveys the concept is simply kindness.
I have a long way to go to get past my own impatience and anger. Daily I still do and say things that I regret later. Though I have to admit I see the huge and gaping need for that kind of "gift" more and more in our every day lives. I'm not sure if I can pull of this major change. This kind of change can be a real challenge, but with so much hurt here it is an idea who's time has come - and it needs to be more than just a fleeting thought.