Purpose For Average People

Pierre Fontenot Friday, October 8, 2021 Comments Off on Purpose For Average People
Purpose For Average People

Tiger Woods was a kid, first time I saw him handle a golf club on TV. I reacted like someone in 1762 reacted, seeing six-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart play a piano for the king.

After that, I never wanted to see Tiger Woods mowing the family yard, or on a ladder, cleaning his grandmother’s gutters, like I had done. When Tiger Woods was awake, he should be working on his golf game. There was no question about his purpose in life.

But there’s only one Tiger Woods, one Mozart. What about us? What’s our purpose, all we average people? 

Worker Me

God must prefer average, because He made so much of it. Earth has one Mount Everest, one Grand Canyon, but Earth has uncountable hills and valleys. 

James Dean on the set of the classic movie Giant. He played Jett Rink, a nobody, trying to figure out how to be a somebody

Life has much and many of same and similar. There could be a quarter million earthworms in your backyard, which is next to nothing, compared with the trillions of cells in your body!

The difference between the worker bee, the worker ant, and worker me, is that I have awareness. There’s this little voice, that hardly speaks, but we hear its questions anyway, “Did anything you do today matter… Is this the life you’re supposed to be living…?”

That voice might not be fun, but it is not our enemy. It’s as vital as our conscience.

Most people don’t think a lick about purpose. I’ve gone long stretches, never thinking about it either. Too young. Too busy. Having too much fun, sometimes feeling too much pain. Most often it was a case of ignorance is bliss, on the road to wrong, but too dumb to know it yet. 

If we hear the little voice, we should count ourselves blessed. By telling us we’re not There, it’s confirming that there is a There, awaiting us.

Purpose Plural

We instinctively know that purpose isn’t one thing, singular, because our lives aren’t one thing, singular.

Life has distinct stages, miniature lives within our life – kid, teen, young adult, marriage, jobs, parenting, caregiving, retirement, old age. Each stage, distinct from the others, has its purpose. Maintaining a marriage has purpose. Caring for your elderly mother has purpose.

Tiger and Mozart can’t live their lives as if all they had to do was make putts and compose symphonies. Buying groceries has purpose too. 

Wrong Measurements

We measure purpose by the wrong gauge, usually fame. First time my grandfather made the newspaper, was at age 79, for his obituary. Does that mean that his life had no purpose? 

Rather than put our value on whether someone made the news, why not wonder how things look from God’s point of view? Tiger Woods made an eagle on the 18th, a NICU nurse started an IV in a 28oz preemie, one made a long putt, the other helped save a life, both are good at what they do, but whose competence had the higher purpose?

What is the value of a good, solid parent? Not just for the one crop raised, but for the echo that will happen through the grandchildren, and the greats? Americans make a fuss over The Greatest Generation, but the foundation was laid by their parents, and grandparents. 

We’re off, on our definition of talent. Artists, athletes, musicians, actors, they’re Up There, as if their talent is the only talent, while we’re down here in the audience, because somebody has to clap.

Let me throw out some rare traits, for which there are no award shows. Optimist. Encourager. Good listener. Family rock. Funny. Natural leader. Ice breaker. Anger cooler. Peace maker. Unselfish. Practical. Organized. Problem solver. Out-of-the-box thinker. Person who does what needs doing. Patient. Sharers. Givers. Good with children. Good with old people. Tender hearted. Tough minded. Silent but steady.

Someone else is good at something I’m bad at. The world is instantly better, if everybody is contributing their purpose, to the greater purpose.

Inner Whisper 

In childhood we feel unique, so different from our siblings. Why do we then go to school, and waste so much time, trying to be like other people’s siblings?

We squander much of our early decades living a costume life. Our sacred obligation is not to live a “supposed-to-be” life, but to actually be, ourselves. But what is that? A lot of the answers are obvious.

What came easy to me as a kid? What do I enjoy? What do I do when I’m not at work? What would I donate time or money to? 

Our talents whisper to us, saying yes, yes, yes. What we’re bad at whispers no, no, no. Tis wiser to put effort into going from good to better, than from bad to average. 

Right Now 

A poor widow is one of our Biblical role models.  While the wealthy give some, from their plenty, the widow puts her only two coins (think pennies) into the Temple offering. Jesus notices.

Instead of coins, think talent, time, effort, want-to. Instead of thinking ‘I don’t have much,’ what if instead we thought, ‘Whatever little bit I have, I’d like to contribute.’ 

Attitude is the on/off switch of purpose. If I begin my day grateful, at having a life, and another day of it, and then live the day with earnest respect, for everything I’m doing, no matter how common, I’m telling God that I’m appreciative, responsible, and worthy of greater responsibility.

If the everyday goal is Do Good and Do No Harm, over time we’re qualifying ourselves to do greater good, by the practice of doing regular good.

Purpose isn’t about yesterday, rarely about tomorrow, mostly, it’s about today, but especially, it’s about right now. If I’m doing a warm thing, from a warm heart, I’ll get a warm feeling, the feeling of purpose.  

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This edition of Uncle P’s Bedtime Stories is dedicated to respecting our (un)common design.  To order his books, put him in your will, or give Uncle P free advice, email him at eightyoneantiques@gmail.com.  More Bedtime Stories can be found on the Eighty-one Facebook page.

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