Purpose is everywhere. We are gifted our lives- hard, sad, mad, glad, broken, beautiful and confusing for a purpose. I tell people over and over we all have our piles, piles of hard and hurt and easy and joyful and crappy and unfair. We all have our own unique piles of challenges, blessings and lessons. There is great purpose in all of those. We do not, I repeat, we do not get to choose the pile that we get to climb or trudge through or look at… it is determined for us. I also know that our own challenges and joy and pain and suffering are there for us to reflect on, be grateful for and to carry it all with us. Our experiences are purposeful.
Five years ago I thought the greatest purpose I had was to wipe butts or show my daughters adventures (PS great purpose). I was oblivious to the epidemic of Childhood Cancer. I was oblivious to the statistics, terrible funding and lack of care for the families going through it all. I didn’t know that there was a need, I didn’t know my life would be altered forever only a few months from now. I had no idea the true importance of a best day ever or using our big girl voices for change (big boy as well). Little did I know that a huge empty void in my heart would show me a great purpose, a niche. This niche has not filled my void, only made it less empty, if that makes sense. The hole missing Madeline will forever be the same size, it was cut from me on February 8, 2012. Healing will just form tender scar tissue around that hole, but it is there forever. I miss Madeline and the hole she left is part of me, it makes me me. Madeline’s loss serves as fuel to fill the niche of Best Day Ever’s and true change for Childhood Cancer and Pediatric Brain Tumors. My hole surrounded by tender scar tissue is the fuel to push me to fill the niche Madeline showed us.
The world is full of need. I speak often to tweens and young adults about service. I try to help them understand what service is and how something they see as little or unplanned is a big.freakin’.deal. I tell them to pay attention to their gifts that sharing their gift is the easiest service. I tell them also that service starts right near home, it starts with the unplanned and unthanked weeding of a neighbors garden, or delivering food to a person in need of company. Service might look small and menial but it is big and necessary. I reiterate that they will grow and become what they will become and to use their talents then too. Sing at fundraisers, do graphics work or printing for foundations, use your expertice in accounting for a person who needs it. We are meant to be all sorts of things, we are meant to share those skills with others. I have a great friend who is a Nuerosurgeon… he know his hands are a gift and it is his job to use them as just that. He was the key in getting Madeline the diagnosis and doctors she needed. Our skills are a gift to fill a niche…
Fast forward to today and recently…
I have the great honor of having many amazing people I meet along this journey. An old colleague of Matthew and a family friend was diagnosed with cancer a while ago, it is stage 4. She quit work and has been an inspiration and positive source of energy since. I see her live, like really live, with her daughters. I see her share moments and quotes to remind us of her light. She knows her days are numbered, what the number is we never get to know. She has created this beautiful and very needed nonprofit that helps adults battling cancer enjoy a night out or an experience that takes away the present. A night out to forget the needles and doctors and fear… the stress and pain. She creates memories and experiences and fills the niche she saw in her pain and hurt that needed to be filled. She saw purpose and positive in the light of her hard. I see her purpose as a beautiful gift to a person who may feel alone and broken and depressed- a bit of light In the dark.
Way back in the day I had a job, you know the kind that you had to ask for days off and call in sick (I know, I know it has been a long time). A coworker from WAY back then has shared a few awesome pieces lately, of the niche they are filling. My friend and I had our kiddos that were the same age, Madeline and Skylar. I remember when Skylar was diagnosed with Autism. I understand very little about that back then. I had no idea the struggle and challenges of a parent with a child with special needs. I was pretty naïve and definitely didn’t understand or know the struggles. I see it now, as a niche to be filled. Educating parents with and without special needs children… finding great opportunities for our amazing special needs population. I think, or maybe I know, that the parents and families of children with special needs are different and have a different purpose. I see many creating businesses that teach skills and give fair wages and experiences to growing special needs people. I love that. I think when we see it we can know it is a need… and I love when parents and families fill that niche of creating a business to help your child and others children. It is an awesome purpose. Tonight my old friend from work, way back when, shared a video of her husband (a chef) and the organization he created ‘Hope for Hire’ that does just that. This organization gives experience and skills that couldn’t otherwise be learned. They filled a necessary niche in this.
It is beautiful when we look around and see our pile and our purpose. It is remarkable when we see that and start filling a niche that is missing some pieces. I know it shows the connections and threads between us, and honestly show me God’s way of taking care of us. He gifts us many beautiful experiences that may be laced with pain and hard… but in all of that is purpose and beauty and niche filling and pile climbing….