Sunday, May 30, 2010

Finding Purpose

An author by the name of Rick Warren wrote a book entitled, "The Purpose Driven Life." It's written by a Christian and was very popular. I have to admit, I started to read it, but didn't finish it. I skimmed the majority, because some of the theology wasn't to my liking. Whether you accept his premise that all things whether good or evil are part of some master plan and purpose is entirely up to you. What I do agree upon is that without purpose in life there is no purpose. It's been a stark lesson I've become acutely aware of lately in my own life.

Of course, this relates to being single. I'm not talking to all you married folks out there with spouses, family, and children who give you purpose. I'm talking to solitary singles, like myself, without spouses, siblings, parents, close family, or have children who are far off - it will be you who relate to what I'm about to confess. As you know by now, I'm not afraid to bare my soul regarding my single feelings. You'd probably be surprised too over the emails I receive that tell me, "gee you just expressed exactly what I'm feeling!"

The first five months of 2010 have been a real bear for me personally. I've discovered that without purpose, I'm pretty much a miserable soul. It doesn't matter what kind of purpose I have, as long as it's some purpose and goal to look forward to. Otherwise, what's the purpose? (Excuse the pun.)

When I planned my trip to England and finally went in March of this year, I was probably the happiest I've been in a long time. I had something to look forward to that I dreamed about my entire life. I had drive, purpose, and a destination for me to reach. It gave me purpose in life.

My second book, which is in the process of completion, filled many weeks with hard work. Finishing the manuscript was an achieved goal and now it will soon be published and that purpose will be over.

When I don't have purpose in something, I become acutely and painfully aware that I don't have purpose in much of anything. I exist. I get up and go to work. I come home and feed the dog. I go to sleep, wake up, and do it all over again. That's my purpose. Is it fulfilling? No.

A loving spouse can give you purpose. Children to care for and be with can give you purpose. Mothers, fathers, and siblings can give you purpose. However, if you have huge voids in your life in this area you start to feel like a fish flopping on the shore gasping for air, because you can no longer swim to any destination with purpose.

It's quite obvious as I struggle with my own loneliness and empty life that when I do not have something - rather than someone - to keep me focused with purpose, I struggle like that fish. I have to flop myself back in the water, wiggle down the current, and find another source of purpose or goal to achieve. Will it be the next book? Will it be the next trip?

I ask the question often too, so what is my purpose? My friend Bethany will scream at me for writing this article, because she thinks my purpose is to write and touch others. Maybe. But do I have to experience everyone's pain in order to empathize? Geesh, such purpose. I'd rather have purpose to love a man, embrace a new family, hold children in my arms, and have loving companionship. That is my ideal for purpose. Is my life really some sort of master plan that I'm living? Is this my purpose?

Of course, I do have things to be thankful for, and that should give me purpose. I'm not under a bridge. I have food on the table, a roof over my head, and a good paycheck. Yes, but those things take care of my physical needs, not my emotional needs, and there is a vast difference. I can feed my body, feed my spirit, but I'm still a living soul that needs to be loved and touched and that is the purpose I long to experience. Frankly, I just wish for that purpose to live before I die.