Sunday, January 16, 2011

Obscurity and competance

A while ago, my friend Kim at pagooey made an observation that resonated deeply inside me:

"If you wake up in the morning, if you're still Here, then there must be something left in this world that you're supposed to do. Originally I attached some pretty noble/vain aspirations to myself, out of this...but at 40, I've allowed that perhaps My True Purpose On This Earth is not necessarily to cure cancer, or attain the Presidency, or even write that blockbuster bestseller that gets me on Oprah. Maybe my purpose is smaller in scope, or meant to be taken a day at a time."

It gelled for me today on some never-before-reached level, as I was I teaching my Primary class of 9, 10 and 11 year-olds at church. Our lesson was about how John the Baptist was foreordained to his calling, and how all of us have our own unique callings we can choose to accept. Or not. Even for those who aren't religious, I believe there's a compelling universal truth in the idea that we each have a purpose to accomplish in life, one we can tap into when we listen to the cosmos--or whatever higher power we recognize--and follow where it leads.

As I was teaching, I had an "aha" moment when I realized I'm actually content--not resigned--but at peace with more modest purposes than I used to dream of: learning the art of being patient with my children, nurturing their minds and bodies, reading books for pleasure as well as knowledge, getting laundry done, working at my marriage, taking care of my body, once or twice a month cleaning the toilet, and slowly (but surely) building up a body of cohesive poems for my first chapbook (probably not the Pulitzer Prize-winner I once fancied, but a start). Those are things I can do, and possibly even do well, one day at a time.

Mark Twain had it when he said, "Obscurity and competance--that is the life that is best worth living."

5 comments:

aubrey said...

what a fantastic quote from your friend's blog and a wonderful post from you. i have come to realize, as you have, that i am content with the mundane duties of my life. truly content with the task of keeping my house clean, with making time to read my scriptures, with enjoying the little things and not being so BIG about everything i do. it truly brings peace to my soul.

aubrey said...

p.s. i love your new header. very sharp.

aubrey said...

and i think i've always thought i was destined for greatness, just waiting around for this greatness to occur or for SOMEthing.. without realizing that tiny great things were going on all around me and by me and at the end of my life all those tiny but great things will sum up my greatness.

Kim said...

Aww/thanks/hi. :) I know I've been falling down on the job writing-wise of late, myself, but this was a nice reminder! It really is all about contentment, isn't it? I spent so many years of my life railing at things that I couldn't change, and giving up all that wasted energy, those exhausting mental cycles, has brought me more peace than I ever expected.

I'm glad you're writing more; I will try to do the same. Oh, and my verification word is "dortmac," which sounds like some sort of odd Belgian casserole.

Dyann said...

What a great 'aha' moment for you.