question: is purpose necessary and also overrated?

i need to ramble. this post is more about the questions than the answers.

i have been very self centered. in moments of reflection, i think to myself that moving back to seattle to help care for my mother is a big “pause” in my life and call as a claretian priest. i hear from my claretian brothers what is happening in our communities and ministries and i long to join them in our mission to serve. i think to myself, “when i return, i could do this ministry or that ministry, live here or there, and begin a new chapter of life as a claretian priest.” in my worst moments, this pause in life makes me feel like i am a prisoner in these four walls and that cannot leave.

I… I… I… I

i realize my selfishness. it is focused on ministry/call/purpose. all are good things but nonetheless are still selfish because i am the subject.

a dear friend recently mentioned that i have given my mother new purpose.

that statement gave me pause. how have i given my mother purpose? what was her purpose before i moved back to seattle? is she aware of her purpose? how are purpose and identity related? can i really understand things from my mother’s point of view? can one define for another their “purpose”

can dictionary definitions rally shed light on my mother’s purpose?

or is purpose-from my mother’s point of view- a deeper, primal, existential philosophical thing? one that words cannot really capture? or does purpose even matter for her anymore?

is it enough to just exist and be alive?

i can compare my mother to a three year old. 98=3. it is a joy for her to see the crows fly by our windows. she is delighted when they stop and sit in the tree across the street. she cannot take her eyes off them and is happy to see them. it’s the same with flowers on the dining room table. her eyes lit up and smiled with glee when she saw the full moon rising the other day.

i do not notice these things in the same way. but i try to help my mother see these crows, the moon and flowers. this is what i do now. is this my purpose? is her purpose is to live and enjoy these subtle gifts from God even though she cannot name it as such? or is it what she just does?

is not “being” primary to life while purpose follows as secondary?

when i think of purpose, it is primarily about “doing.” ministry, service, good works are actions. life is primarily being; being is primarily life. is life not worth anything if one cannot act with purpose? is our respect for all human life dependent on the consciousness of one’s purpose?

in john 10: 10, jesus says, “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” if this is true, is my mother living life more abundantly in her 98 year old self? as abundantly as possible given her current limitations? can i be the judge of is qualitative “abundance”?

what does love require of me because of these questions?

thanks for enduring this barrage of questions! i pray that the Spirit may enlighten me and my mother with abundant life and get a glimpse of purpose every now and then.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s