Friday, July 21, 2006

Doing Something Big

You aspire to great things? Begin with little ones.
Lately I've been having these feelings. A yearning. Of wanting to be a part of something "big", something significant. It's hard to explain. I want to stand out in my area of expertise, to be recognized in my field. It's not about being popular or famous but being sought out or referred to because of my reliability and value. This desire coincides with getting the above fortune from Mr. Lu's and reading The Bone Woman by Clea Koff.

Koff, a forensic anthropologist, was twenty-three when she went to Rwanda on the UN's first Internationl Criminal Tribunal to collect evidence of genocide. For years she knew she wanted to fight human rights abuses by reading their bones and speaking for them. She describes a day "at work" while in Bosnia:

Nine hours of clearing earth from on top of bodies and disengaging their limbs from one another for transfer to body bags was uniquely mellowing and fulfilling for me.

This is someone who has passion and drive and a clear sense of their own purpose. I think most struggle their entire lives hoping to find their purpose or that someone would simply tell them what it is. Yes, yes, my purpose is to glorify God. But how? We each are uniquely gifted so why is it that we are so confused about it?

I don't think knowing my purpose before the fact is necessary. The only necessary thing is doing. Making choices. Taking risks. Listening. Moving. Clearly defining my purpose ahead of time is not a requirement of accomplishment. In doing I discover purpose. "I should've studied anthropology." "I should've __________" is not moving. It's avoidance, denial, and rejection.

Don't misinterpret this post. It's really a personal pep talk not a sermon. When these feelings first cropped up I asked My Geek, "What possible significance could I be a part of? I'm so... average." (Insignificant was actually the word I thought.)

I'm not sure why I'm having these feelings of being a part of "something big". It could be because I'm getting older and I'm looking at the sum of my life and wondering if it adds up. It could be how the popular culture rewards pompous and unprincipled behavior. Or it could be that I have only just begun.


Erin said...

This seems to be the age-old question, "What do I want to be when I grow up?" Of course, we're ALWAYS growing up! Everyday we are (hopefully) more mature than the day before.
I think that there are 80, 90, 100 year old women who ask themselves these same sorts of questions.

Our entire life is a process of building in experiences, testing new waters, discovering what we are and are not gifted at. Nothing is wasted. We just have to filter it all through the lens of how God created us and what brings Him the most glory from our lives. And that is the key place to begin- dialoging with our Creator about his mindset when He created us. "What exactly did you have in mind for me, Lord?"

I, personally, think that being average is just great. It reminds me that I am not the ultimate expert on anything or the savior of the world. I like my small circle of good friends and family (though there's always room for more). People who mean something to me and to whom I mean something as well. Quite a few of the "great" and "popular" people of today could do with a dose of averageness.

San said...

Recently I read in 1 Thess 4, "Aspire to live a quiet life." That is a tall order--to live, in a sense, SMALL. Not a message we will get from motivational talks. :)

I was writing answers to my own study in Mocha on the Mount today and the question was this: "What is success according to God?" Eventually I concluded, "If I love God and love my neighbor, that looks like success." Not how many books I write or talks I give or people I mentor. But here lately I have been asking the same question you're asking, Rhonda. I was blessed by your post. You articulated it well--it's not about fame. It is wanting to be a part of something eternal, significant, worthwhile. Erin, I was blessed by your response. Too many divas out there, not enough Dorotheas (see ending to Middlemarch). Thanks for being good companions on the journey.