I awoke in the middle of the night thinking of this title and what it personally means to me right now. I'm using a play on words when I say I'm pro life. Don't get me wrong, I am totally pro-life in the true sense of the word. But today I'm using the words to depict the urgency in living a life with purpose. I listened as my daughter read to me from the book, "Pollyanna". And although I dozed off a couple of times, she did get my full attention when she read the exchange of words between Pollyanna and her aunt Ms. Polly, “Oh, of course I'd be BREATHING all the time I was doing those things, Aunt Polly, but I wouldn't be living. You breathe all the time you're asleep, but you aren't living. I mean living—doing the things” “Just breathing isn't living!” ― Eleanor H. Porter,
The words resonated with me, especially since it was on the day that I got the news about the passing of the hospice care client I was volunteering for. I was feeling like I had let him down because, although I planned on visiting with him and developing a relationship, our time ran out way faster than I had hoped. He had brain cancer and was given up to six months to live. So I was counting on those six months, which turned into a month and a half! So I was sort of grieving. Grieving that he passed without any relatives to truly mourn for him. And grieving that I had an opportunity to be there for him but wasn't proactive enough with it. My time ran out. Wish I had known!
And I became reflective. About life. About purpose. About living with purpose. And I made some phone calls, wrote down some words, sent out some messages, all to contact and encourage several people I know could use it. I thought of those I know are really struggling right now. And I thought of those who are counting on me. I also thought of those who would appreciate to hear from me, since it's been awhile since we've talked. And I got to work. Because simply breathing isn't living. Because time has not entirely run out for me. I'm still alive and able to make a difference. I prepared a bag with clothes for the kid in need I had heard about at the soup kitchen. I made the call to the doctor's office on behalf of the elderly lady who was getting nowhere on the phone with doctors. I got my son's favorites at the supermarket. I played the wii with my daughter after school. I prepared an exquisite 3 course meal for the family. And it felt good to be proactive. To not wait, because tomorrow is not always the better day. Because today is quickly a part of yesterday. And because God has given me this gift called life, and I must cherish it by living with purpose.
And what is the purpose of man according to the Bible, but to glorify God with our lives? He has created us for His purposes and glory. So that we may take that which He has given us and give it right back by sharing it with others. So we share our lives' moments and experiences, we share our abilities, our strengths, our skills, our individual attributes to service others and as gratitude toward the one who gifted us with this thing called life.
It isn't enough to build ourselves homes and passions here on earth for our own well-being. Ecclesiastes 1:14 reminds us that all of our personal toils here on earth are but a "chasing of the wind". Will we ever catch it? No. It all seems to dissipate and slip right through our hands. But there are some things, certain things, that last forever. There are things that we can take into eternity. And those things are intangible. Those are the things to live for. Those are the things that make life worth living for. And when we've figured out what they are and how they look in our own personal lives, then we can begin to live out our purpose in life.
For a long time, I had the presumption that my purpose was to become an author. And that if I could meet that goal, I would have accomplished my life's purpose. And so when I could no longer put words on paper. When I ran out of inspiration, I felt depleted and discouraged. And I believed that I had failed. For a while now, God has been using different things and events in my life to tell me that my life's purpose is to bring Him glory by encouraging others. Me, an encourager? It just didn't sound as profound or elite as "an author". It sounded too slight or simple. Until I started to put my words on paper with the sole purpose of bringing encouragement to others. That's when it started to all make sense. And I began to have peace with not having the best seller to share with friends and family. I felt at ease and even experienced joy to know that a notecard with my words in it would help someone come out of a rut. And so I know that by bringing encouragement to someone, I am bringing glory to God and in return I am blessed.
I am Pro Life because just breathing isn't living. And I choose to live out my life's purpose today because tomorrow isn't promised.