Standring column: Having a purpose: Joy is enough
Columns share an author’s personal perspective.
“What is my purpose?” The question is special when you sidestep the great abyss, like I did, surviving a cancerous lung tumor. I recovered fully during pandemic isolation, a big helping of time to ask, “And that happened because?”
I examined my reason for existence. Find a cancer cure? End world hunger? Create a global love diet based on whirled peas? You know, big ticket items.
I said to my husband, “I wonder what I’m meant to accomplish?”
He replied, “How about just being happy?”
I said, “No way! That seems selfish.”
David sipped his wine. “Is it? Maybe good things to others flow from happiness.”
Hmm. I tiptoed toward the idea my happiness is enough to delight God. But how can that be in a do-more, give-more world? Everywhere societal demands for intervention blare from headlines.
Is “just being happy” like navel-gazing with a self-satisfied smile? Or is joy a truly rare state that unifies me with the divine?
I had a lung tumor. Then poof, my life is spared. Surely, I should be rooting around for something big to give back. My mind reels with projects, all of which leave me feeling inadequate and tired.
Maybe there’s a balance between “being” and “doing,” to just sitting happily until God has a better idea.
After all, I never created my cancer or my healing. Something much greater was afoot: timing, the right doctors, prayers, Reiki, and a divine signal, “It’s not your time to go.” “Why” has an answer I cannot decipher quite yet. I’m rowing in circles.
Then, in mid-stroke, I read this:
But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard - things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. (Galatians 5:22-23, The Message Bible)
Got it. I’ll stop forcing my ideas.
Instead, I’ll make room for the unknown, and feel the joy to be alive and well. Maybe my beam will be caught by the Mother Ship that is God, and his intentions will signal back. Besides, joy is good for everyone.
Through the years, the joy of others has benefitted me with encouragement, inspiration, being emboldened or reassured. Things more valuable than anything I could scribble in my to-do calendar.
I’ll trust that at some point, I’ll get a God-nudge that says, “OK, this is what I need you to do.”
And I will follow through, energized by the happiness already in me.
Email Suzette Martinez Standring at firstname.lastname@example.org.