Watching the neighborhood kids play merrily in a mid-winter rain delighted my weary soul. Inclement weather does not seem to spoil their resilience or outdoor fun. Have you ever noticed that children seem to easily discover their daily purpose? Their imaginations lead them confidently in the right direction every time. Kids don’t waste a moment on senseless worry or useless debate unlike their adult counterparts. Creative thinking allowed the kids on my quiet, tree-lined street to make great memories on a day when others may have simply stayed inside and sulked.
Discovering our daily purpose can sometimes be a challenge. It’s a personal journey which most people embrace at some point during their lifetime. Occasionally we may think that our purpose is something quite unattainable so we make our lives burdensome with foolish anxiety and worry. At other times, we may think that our purpose is something hidden from our sight thus we exhaust our senses trying to figure it out. My experience has been that when we just let go, trust and surrender, we actually live our way into the answer. Our purpose becomes quite clear when we align our hearts and minds with the God who loves us unconditionally.
As children we lived authentically, enjoying the simple pleasures of each day – running with friends in the deep, green grass of summer, gathering golden leaves of a shedding autumn tree and making decorative angels in the cold, white snow of winter. Children are resilient – they trust that all things will work out for the best. Unfortunately, most folks lose the gift of “childlike faith” as they get older. As adults, we tend to overthink things thus our ability to experience peace and simplicity fades. I wonder why adults complicate things so much? The Lord assured us that, “God will take care of us, no matter what happens. Trust in Him, even when life is terrifying and sad and makes no sense. This is what makes a believer like a child.” So during periods of uncertainty, I believe that we are called to “be like the little children” who put their hope and trust in God. When we do, we will find peace and purpose in each new day.
But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”– Matthew 19:14
We were sitting on the beach together during a late summer afternoon. She had been sick for quite awhile, fighting the hideous cancer disease that ultimately claimed her life in 2016. I had been struggling with constant pain from two recent spinal surgeries. She looked over at me and said, “The more a person suffers in life, the closer she is to God and the more she experiences His peace.” I am not sure that I fully understood her words at the time, but I did know that she was a source of constant peace and love in my life. I also believed that she was close to God and one of the few people I knew who could easily share her daily purpose with me. Looking back, I think she was trying to help me understand my purpose in the midst of a difficult time. She knew that I had suddenly been thrust into a place where I could not control my health and despite my best efforts, I could not “make it better.” I think she was encouraging me to let go and trust that God had it all worked out, even though I could not see it. I believe now that she wanted me to just be, appreciating the simple gifts of each day without focusing on the pain or the future.
I smile as I write this blog, gazing at a beautiful photo of her. Mom knew who she was – a daughter of God who was called to love unconditionally in this life in the way that God loved her. When she did this, her daily purpose fell into place according to God’s will. It was clear by her words and actions that she lived according to this belief. She had “childlike faith” and trusted in the grace of God – especially during the darkest moments of her life. Her faith propelled her forward each day in search of beauty, goodness and truth. She continued to live this way in spite of the cruel diagnosis she received thus showing us all how to surrender and trust in God. During the last few years of her life, she lived joyfully, living her purpose every day – from quiet drives down 6A with my dad, to volunteering at the local homeless shelter to enjoying her granddaughters’ Irish Step dance performances. In fact, one of the last things Mom did in her Hospice room was to ask my dad to dance with her. She chose to surrender, finding her purpose in each new day, until the moment God called her home. Perhaps we should all pause a moment and consider how we could “play in the rain” this week thus live a more simple, peaceful and purposeful life.