I would assume it difficult for a new mother holding her tiny babe against her tired chest to wonder or even question what her purpose is. Her purpose beats against her heart every day. It is quite natural for her to walk within her purpose and gain great meaning , perspective and fulfillment in meeting the needs of her child, who is helpless and looks to her to bring him safely to a place where he can take over.
Not all of us are at that stage in life where meaning is so plain and clear and easy to embrace. We are a privileged species to have the ability to ponder such questions and at certain checkpoints in life.
Having purpose and meaning in life is vital to the motivation and desire to live, thrive and serve either self, God, or fellow mankind.
a new mother is motivated by the cries of her child in the middle of the night, she desires to hold him, soothe him and see him look into her eyes. Her hopes and dreams for his future is what moves her on. She serves the child, in doing so she serves mankind, she serves her maker because she is doing what is natural for her and lastly she serves her own inner desire for intimacy and relationship. it is easy now to see why God said, “in childbirth you shall be saved.”
but we are not all at that place of giving birth.
some are getting married or building a house, gathering food or looking desperately for a job. At times affliction and oppression create a certain desperate meaning to life. Often times new frontiers pose a wonderful excitement regarding the potential meaning and purpose in one’s life. A new job, a new school or a new car. they somehow gives us a point in the road ahead to focus on while we travel towards it. there a million purposes and meanings in life, some see clearer than other and some just do what they must and never question, knowing with confidence what they are doing is what they should do. OR some work their whole lives towards a goal. A med school student who becomes a doctor might not question what his purpose is, even after twenty years in the profession. He chose it, he worked toward it, and he lives within it.
But then there are times, when suddenly quite unexpectedly there is an emptiness inside. nothing new waits on the horizon, bellies are full, and children safely growing and independent and life settled, and there is a subtle cry in the heart, “where do I belong, and why am I here?” “What brings my life meaning or what meaning do i bring to this life?” is it to simply continue to create a cycle of days and evenings and mornings which look the same, which feel the same. Is it to remain strapped to this hamster wheel. “What good am I doing, how am I contributing or changing this world, or at least my world?”
We need purpose, we must have a meaningful experience often. Purpose and meaning drive us forward. Shallow or profound we must have a goal a point to drive us forward, and we must believe in some way that what we do is meaningful and important, or else we lose hope and given in to the emptiness. Perhaps at this point we must reach for a greater goal, perhaps we must go deeper or higher or increase our point of contention in some way.
I feel my heart cry out now. It is my time to wonder what meaning do I attach to my every day life, to my existence. What is the purpose that I am here? this is not a question anyone can answer nor do my weary ears desire a general and pat response. At one time it seemed so clear, I felt the drive of motherhood pressing on me, or the motivation for earning a degree or the intent of writing. Secret knowledge that I felt in some way I alone possessed and needed to enlighten the world with. But now, I feel alone, I feel dry inside. Like I don’t really have or know anything special to give, I can’t organize something enough to put it out there and save the souls of the masses. i am humble and empty. my parenting skills fail daily to provide and maintain the sort of order I feel good and important. MY house of ten years is a patch work quilt and far from the dream in my mind and heart. my idea of what i might become is beginning to fade quietly amoung the moments which tick away. My marriage is simple and yet i find myself wondering am i really living at all, or just existing, I want my senses to feast themselves and whisper to my intellect. I have fed my brain for years and expanded and grown and now i am ready for my eyes to see new sights and my ears to hear a variety of languages and my feet to touch the sands of space and time, sand and rocks, and grasses from around the earth. is this sinful is it sensual? is it a key to understanding myself, or mankind? that we are pendulum’s and that our learning swings between being stimulated spiritually, and naturally.
perhaps i must find meaning in my world which i can taste and smell and touch and see? Perhaps my senses must have their turn to be stimulated by new discoveries nad wonders before i enter my new frontier of growth and meaning. maybe that is why i started to paint. I have created my own visual perspectives in order to have a purpose and continue to grow and develop. perhaps our brains need to be fed information in order to thrive, and just maybe when they are starving they lose their will and meaning in life.
in a few weeks I will be in a new job at a preschool, and I will be distracted enough to forget like the nursing mother the purposes and I will just walk in it for a time. the demands of my day will bring nessesity into the forefront of my mind. i will be stimulated and begin to be fed once again i suppose and when things slow down I may return I always do. to my questions which remain without answers.
Lord, am I where i’m supposed to be? what is the most important thing? why am I unsatisfied often? when will things change? will we be here forever? can we move? why must things in my life always feel unfinished and undone? Why do I have this desperate longing for change, for new life, for beauty, for the world from a different perspective?
I simply wonder am I bored or am I losing meaning and purpose in life? i no longer have a babe in arms that i must somehow bring to a place of self sufficiency, and independence. i am that babe in the arms of my creator, growing looking around at this new world to explore and discover, and every time i get a little too comfortable i cry and reach and then i grow.