I wasn't sure why I went out there that day. I ran an errand before work, and was strongly prompted to see where my grandparents were buried. I haven't been out there since Granddaddy died in October 1989, but I felt like I needed to go out there then to deal with some emotional issues before I could really move on.
So there I was on a cold, windy day. I overshot the row, so I had to walk to their plot. As I got to that place, I realized something: Despite over 20 years of history, I had nothing to say. I stood there with the weight of two major life changes that had recently started a new season in my life and for all the months of wishing they were here to give me advice - nothing.
I felt like a moron, standing there in a ridiculous looking hat with my work ID flapping in the breeze until traffic noise from the nearby highway snapped me out of my blank mind. That's when it hit me: Of course there was nothing to say here. Everybody in this place had completed their journey! This was no longer their world. They had passed their trials, had served their purpose in the world, and now had their reward. I and I alone was responsible for leaving this place and resuming my place in that world, to serve my purpose and to complete the mission the Lord sent me to serve.
That alone was a profound insight. It's what happened next that really nailed it.
As I walked back to my car, I realized that I parked next to where my great-great grandparents were buried. I looked down as I hit the "unlock" button on my car to see my great-great-grandmother's epitapth, which read: A GOOD AND FAITHFUL HELPMEET.
Something inside me snapped. I realized that I would one day lie in this place - and I expect the world to know more about me than that when I'm gone! "Oh hell no," I said to the wind, "I better leave behind more than that. I'm not a sidekick!"
I couldn't believe that an entire lifetime was summed up in a sentence that was nothing more than a passing tribute to her supporting role to helping my great-great grandfather in his efforts as the first pastor of our church, and his other endeavors. Who was she? How did she do it? What were her passions? What kind of personality did she have? We'll never know. Heck, I didn't even know her name until that moment.
At that, I left. It was cold, and windy. I was wearing a really stupid hat. And I realized I had stuff to do.
Now, I fully realize that women in the 18th century were largely defined by fathers, husbands and the men in their life. My point is twofold: First, it isn't like that anymore, and I think it's a pity that their identities are lost. Sure I accept my role as my husband's "helpmeet," but I'm also a unique individual and I have my own way of doing all things, be they God-given missions of my own or supporting others in their God-give missions. Second, I hate to say it but most people do still define themselves by others. They get so wrapped up in roles and relationships that they loose sight of who they are at their very core - the place in the center of their soul where the Lord made them a unique and wonderful creation. And they do it willingly to fit in with societal norms.
My purpose in this blog series is not to buck any systems, or to lash out against conformity. My purpose is to share this epiphany with you and to tell you the powerful truth I learned in the Mt. Tabor Lutheran Church cemetery that day: That we are all uniquelly and wonderfully made, and our ultimate purpose is to be the person God made us to be so we can serve the purpose He sent us to serve in this world. We shouldn't fear or deny who we are because everything God makes is good. That includes us. We need to embrace our authenticity and take our place now. Others might be able to do what we do, but they can't do it the way we can. God sent you to do what you're purposed to do because you have a way that nobody else that has ever, does, or will live can do it. We need to learn to accept ourselves and embrace what makes us unique!
Why? Because this is our world. All those who have gone before have served their purpose. Those ahead of us have not come to their time yet. lt's our world, right now, because the Lord has ordained it for us. We need to find our purpose. We need to own it. We need to make sure that the world knows we're here and that our presence makes a difference. Because that is, after all, why God sent us.
When I die, I want my epitapth to read "It's your world now. Go do stuff." Maybe that epiphany will spread. Maybe it will inspire the future. But that's yet to come. It's my time now, and I have to own it.
Because I have stuff to do. And so do you. Now let's get out there and own this world!
Next time: Who Are You? Devine Purpose, Authentic Soul.