Have you ever known what you were put on this planet to do? Or have you ever known, without a shadow of a doubt, your passion in life? And do those two things actually come together for you in some way that gives your life purpose, satisfaction, fulfillment and happiness? If your answer is yes, yes and yes, well…I hope you know how fortunate you are. You see, I thought that by now I would have dived the deep ocean, studying sharks. Or I would be on a research vessel somewhere in the ocean, or even in a the field, working towards conservation in some way, shape, or form. Basically, I had no idea that I would instead be married, caring for a blind diabetic dog and my 90+ year old grandmother with dementia, all while being in the human resources field for a tech company. What’s that saying, “footloose and fancy-free”? Yup. That’s what I thought I’d be even in my thirties. Not that I’m complaining. I love my life. I love my husband. I love caring for my dog and for my grandmother. And I still smile every time I’m at the office because the people I work with are actually pretty great. But as I carve out more time to develop myself, I can’t help but wonder about my purpose in life. I have this nagging feeling that something is not quite right.
One of my earliest childhood memories, perhaps I was 7 or 8, I was sitting alone in my bedroom, thinking to myself that I was “here” for my friends and family. Somehow I knew that my life was to be of service in some way and that I had to learn all that I could to make sure I could help my friends and family. I barely focused in school because I knew I wasn’t going to become anyone who needed calculus in her everyday life. I used to pray every night for two things: that the Lord would allow me to always be there for my family; and that every animal locked in a cage, being tested on, and feeling any sort of anguish or pain would have at least that one night of peace.
I always considered myself an animal person. To this day, I prefer nonhuman animals to a majority of people. And I remember having a daydream as a child of me buying a large apartment building to house all of the stray cats and dogs. So how do I bring together my passion for animals and my desire to serve others to form my life’s purpose? Is that even an option?
Well, this morning I was listening to a podcast from Bishop T.D. Jakes called, “Thank God for Little Things” and I realized that I am an acorn.
I have all this potential to be something great (like an oak tree), but I am not an oak tree yet. Most importantly I realized that it’s okay to be an acorn. I should appreciate and thank God for the “little things”. I also learned that I have to bring together my passion with what I’m good at in order to find my purpose. But then I get caught back in that loop of being an acorn. How do I show someone that I’m good at something because I have the passion and drive if I don’t have the required masters degree and 15 published scientific papers? It’s like those companies looking to hire someone with an undefined bachelor’s degree to do cold calling. What’s that about? Why does someone need four years of college to call someone and get them to set an appointment for someone else to do a demo and earn a commission? How can an acorn ever grow to be an oak tree if it is never given a chance to start on its journey? I don’t even know where to begin. And considering that I care for two seniors, do I even have the time to try to become an oak tree?
What can I do? There are days when I feel like I am in the acorn phase and I need to gather all of the knowledge I can so that way when the time is right, I’ll be ready to sprout into a sapling. And other days I plain just want to be the oak tree already. I know this post isn’t resolving any issues but sometimes I just need a sounding board. Today, I need to find some time to reflect and find the strength, love and patience to accept where I am along this journey as I prepare to become someone great. Even if that greatness is only for my friends and family, I ask that I feel satisfied with my life’s choices.
So now I turn it back to those who said yes earlier in the post. How did you find the strength, love and patience in your life when you were still in the acorn phase, when your life did not match your dream of how you imagined your life should have been?