"Maybe that's why a broken machine always makes me a little sad, because it isn't able to do what it was meant to do... Maybe it's the same with people. If you lose your purpose...it's like you're broken."
We watched the movie Hugo tonight. Well, in the interest of full disclosure, the kids watched it. I caught snippets, in between cooking and plating dinner, serving the kids (on the couch; the home renovation is moving along quite nicely, and we've given up on the dining room until they finish) and leaving to pick up Daniel from drumline. What I saw, I really liked. It was a beautiful movie.
As I sat back down to engage in the final 10 minutes of the film, the kids said, "Mom, you missed the best part. About purpose."
"If you lose your purpose...it's like you're broken."
I've felt broken, on more than one occasion. And here recently, I've experienced that sadness, the absence of purpose, more frequently than I'd like to admit.
Although it feels so, it is not that I have lost my purpose. I've simply been unable to see it.
I guess the end result is one and the same - brokenness. Sadness.
Been there. Done that.
But here's the key, the good part, the sweet stuff: With a change in perspective, an open heart, the counsel of the wise and the faith that the Promise is true, what is unseen can be revealed.
A combination of all of the above caused my eyes to open.
Most powerful - surprisingly so (to me, anyway) - has been an abrupt change in my schedule. I've been working full-time and teaching privately three days a week at our family music store. I love both. But the cost was great; I saw it first in my children. My absence made a difference. I knew that I was tired, fractured, stressed.
And so I quit for a season, which was oh-so-hard, because I have this heightened sense of self-importance that makes me think, sometimes, that the world itself will stop spinning were I to stop doing something. I know I'm an effective piano teacher, and I love it; but someone else stepped in and I find myself with time at home now, room to breathe, and I am better for it. As our my children. And, I daresay, most of the people I come in contact with, because I'm present now, for all of it.
And the world is not going to end because I can't jump on Facebook right now and post something witty or clever. Although at least six times a day I doubt the truth of that statement, I know that's another thing I am learning in these days. I am tempted daily to reactivate my account (deactivated as a Lenten discipline) and reengage, because I think I have something to say.
I always have something to say.
I've learned, instead, to be quiet. I've learned to be patient. I've learned to pick up the phone, to send a personal email, to be present, to pray, to give myself space to think and breathe instead of filling up every moment with words.
Facebook is this for me: a chance to say, over and over again, "I'M HERE! I MATTER! WATCH ME SAY SOMETHING WITTY! ARE YOU SAYING SOMETHING WITTY? LET ME AFFIRM YOU! LET ME SHOW YOU I CARE! LET ME SEE WHAT ELSE YOU ARE SAYING! LISTEN! I'M GOING TO SAY SOMETHING ELSE NOW!"
I have been more thoughtful in conversation. I certainly spend more time in prayer. I breathe. I think.
Undoubtedly space to breathe and think is the result of my new schedule, no longer teaching, leaving room for both. But it is also the removal of distractions. An it is honest conversation with people that I know believe the best, have my back, love me.
Clearing away the clutter, I rediscovered my purpose. I feel restored. I feel grateful.
And though the valley may come again, I'll take this focus for this moment and be grateful for it.
What's distracting you? Who might speak some truth into your life, if invited? Who might benefit from your words?