Next week I will turn 43. Not really a milestone birthday, but there have been many upheavals in my life this year, and so it seems fitting to reflect on the lessons I’ve learned and the accomplishments I’ve achieved. My most valuable and life-changing lesson this year has been my acceptance of God and the opening of my spirit to faith. The love that my new husband, Michael, and I share has brought me home to God, has given me the courage to love fully with my whole heart. As a person who has always been hesitant to trust and fearful of “losing control,” finding faith has created a beautiful transformation in the way I approach life. There is freedom in opening one’s soul to the divine; there is peace in recognizing the sacred in ourselves and others.
I’ve always had a yearning for purpose and meaning in my life, but I defined purpose as a goal, a pursuit I would hopefully “someday” achieve. Looking back, I understand that I was so busy pursuing a goal that seemed forever on the distant horizon that I didn’t recognize the many daily opportunities to live with purpose. Now, as I learn about God and meaning, as I contemplate my life and its flow, I’ve come to the realization that purpose is not a destination to be arrived at or a goal to be achieved. It is the way we live each day of our lives. Purpose is the commitment to kindness, compassion, and love. It is the perspective with which we view the world and the individual actions we take as we move through each day. We create by doing, and thus are defined by our actions. Each time we reach out to fellow living beings (two-legged and otherwise) with kindness and compassion, we are living with purpose. And in the daily act of living with purpose, we experience God.
Next week I will turn 43. Last year on my birthday, Michael proposed to me. When I accepted, I took the first step on a journey that has helped me overcome a lifetime of doubt, fear, and insecurity. Faith and purpose are gifts to be celebrated; gifts to be shared through love, kindness, and compassion. Although my birthday is still one week away, I have already received the most blessed of gifts.