Bearing. Noun. “One’s place and direction relative to one’s surroundings.” Synonyms: location, orientation, position.
Today I regained a sense of my bearings. Why am I where I am? What is my place and direction relative to my surroundings?
I had a frustrating morning. I wasn’t grading fruit fast enough for my boss’s liking; in fact, I was being too meticulous. (It’s not like I’m a perfectionist or anything, is it?) So I changed a few things up, and started processing the projects faster. Despite this, I was becoming frustrated. I had a headache, and I felt like I wasn’t meeting expectations, and quite frankly… I became stressed. (This is code for “self-focused and miserable” in case you were unaware.) When I came home for lunch, I really didn’t want to go back for the afternoon. However, it’s a very good thing that I did, for God used the afternoon to counter my morning and remind me of why I am where I am.
I began to actually converse with people after I got back from my lunch break, see. Mild banter during the coffee break. I actually started asking questions, such as, “How long have you been working here?” “Are you taking classes at SUNY Oswego?” Et cetera. Well, at one point one of the cashiers came to the back room where I was grading pears, for her coffee break. I asked her how long she had been working there. She asked me if I was in high school or college. She said that she was only a senior in high school. So I asked her what she was planning on doing afterward, or if she had any ideas yet. She told me that she was looking at Pre-Med. “If you don’t mind my asking… why are you looking at that?” Her answer? “Well, I don’t know. It looked interesting.” A moment later… “And they make lots of money, so that’s good.” It honestly took me aback somewhat. I think I offered a non-commital, “Oh, well, that’s interesting.” Her break ended, and I was left to my thoughts. Is that all she wanted to do? Was that her only motivation? Her only passion? They make good money?!?! Did she not have any focus beyond that? Where does that leave you? To go and try to buy yourself happiness while you scramble from patient to patient, with no true love for what you do? All these questions began to run through my mind, and I was reminded of my bearing.
I believe that people have a purpose. Those of you that know me know that I have a passion for children with special needs, and reminding the world that they were created for a purpose, that they are here for a purpose, that they have value. But sometimes… I wonder if that’s not all. It’s not just about the special needs children. It’s about people in general. It’s about the people wandering around who have no focus. Who don’t realize that God has put them on this earth for a reason. Whose focus is so misplaced that they would decide on a career simply because it would make them lots of money. What kind of an empty life is that? A life of self-focus, of self-indulgence, of hoping that buying the next thing will finally make you feel good? That keeping up with the Joneses is the best you can do? Forge the Jones family for a moment, if you will. Look beyond the corporate ladder our culture is feeding you images of, for just a moment, and have a passion for what you do. Remember that “He who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6b). God is there. And He loves us. And He’s working in us. “These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:11-13) You want joy? You want passion? Set yourself aside. Love others.
Well, this post ended up being slightly different than I had intended at the outset. But. Suffice to say, I regained my bearings. I see now why God has me where He has me. I don’t know if I will see doors open. I don’t know who will water any of the seeds that God might plant by using me. But I do know that I need to be asking questions. I need to remind people that there is a reason to live, a reason to move forward, a reason to make the most of where you are right now. And the only way to do that… is to live it. Passionately. Even on the days that I feel like I’m just messing up. Especially on the days that I feel like I’m just messing up.
Edited to add: You want an example of a man who lived passionately? Take a look at Thomas S. Vander Woude. Would we be willing to do this? Would I? Would you?