Hiking up the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming, breath coming in gasps, heart pounding in my ears, birds wheeled overhead. In the distance, across the glacial lake at 8,000 feet, a bear lapped from the water’s edge. I was thinking about Shabbat at my rabbi’s house.
It was 1999, and I was twentysomething and searching for my purpose in life. I always knew I wasn’t drawn to material goals and surface success. I wanted to live well and honestly, with meaning. I wanted to write and write and spin stories that pleased people, that inspired, that created whole new worlds of understanding.
On that mountaintop, I yearned to go home to a community not yet my own. A community where people advocate against speaking gossip and consider themselves representatives of God himself. A community I loved and left after 10 years.
That was a long time ago and I am still preoccupied with musings of purpose. What were you born to do? What is your unique path in this world?
I’m still searching for the answer. And perhaps the answer is not to search at all, but to do the work in front of you and the answer will appear.
My fingers type at the keys to form words. The words link into sentences, chains of meaning sent out in the cybersphere to inspire untold others. Who is your audience? How are you making the world better?
All around me, it seems people have their purpose. Many live simple lives full of meaning and connection, no need to chase after unsought dreams. I’ve traveled the globe this year, literally, circling back to this chair, this desk, this window seat, out of which I see the words spinning up in a tornado of meaning.
I yearn to write the stories that people need to read. I yearn to tell you about them from the podium and help you find your own meaning. We all have one. It’s a life’s journey to pick it out from the confusing crowd and live it well.
The way we live is about infusing the moments with meaning. We create rituals and observances to mark those moments as special, to pick them out from the crowd, to stop and notice and celebrate and live.
This week, Christmas. Chanukah ends after tonight. Holidays about bringing light into the darkness. We need the contrast in order to see the brilliance. Candle flames, strings of lights don’t shine as bright in the day.