“I have learned that what we have done for ourselves alone dies with us. What we have done for others and the world, remains and is immortal.”
As I walk through these days, as I am surrounded by luxury and the ability to turn the channel, as I drown with frustration with bureaucracy, injustice, and passion bled out by the “covering of the butt”, I find myself often asking if it is worth it. When this question arises, it is not out of a heart searching for the reasons why I love what I get to do. It is me turning over stones digging for justifications to settle, to crash and burn, to set Rome afire and watch the glow from a distance, never to return. I must always seek direction, to fulfill my life’s passions, but when that is clear I cannot compare it with what is rational, what is most rewarding, what is easiest . I must obey it.
Recently, I counseled a friend on the brink, towel in hand, and then had to ruminate on the words I spoke which were truth, but I was not their source. I asked her why she was in nursing school. What was the source of her motivation. Then I answered my own question. She wants to be a nurse because of what the eyes will speak when the mouth cannot utter, for the hand she will clinch as one’s life passes through the fingertips. For the helpless, the dying, the hurting, the homeless, the desperate. She is pursuing this profession to serve, to love, and for the sheer fact that God has gifted her with the ability and the intellectual and emotional capacity to give healing in the most intense and dire of tragedies. She is not doing it for professor affirmations, for the societal status, for the riches, or the joy that does not come with a perfect chart.
That is when I raised the mirror, and looked myself in the eyes. I have to protect my passions, my bleeding heart, my longings to be hands and feet, and the dreams that I must fertilize and cultivate. I must protect them, not from society or from the injustices and the red tape….but from myself. My self. I have to make sure that I keep my heart ablaze, searching, serving, and longing to pour my soul into another. I must protect it from the temptations to settle, to demand my rights be met, to compare its’ direction with what is rational, ordinary, or indifferent.
One of the hardest realities that one must accept as an adult is the fact that life does not discriminate. What is right is an unwelcomed stranger. Injustice, pride, greed, and ignorance have contaminated the highest of positions of authority and leadership. There will always be war. There will always be starving mouths. There will always be victims who have lost their innocence to the vile. But I am their defender. You are their defender. But what do we do with that? I am going to choose to search, to offer myself, to obey. I trust that the passion that boils inside me is not of the common, not of myself, and with that comes accountability and purpose, fulfillment and freedom. Freedom that will come to me as it is fought for for others. So, when the idiocies of my reality arise, I will fight. I will fight my self as I obey the dreams that consume me and focus on the purpose at hand. I will no longer weigh it with the casual, the comfortable, or the way I think things should be. I do this for you. I do this for me. I do this for the thirsty world drowning as it longs for a single drop of purity, longing for an outstretched hand, pleading simply for a kind touch and a defender. Starting today, I will strive to weigh my reality by whether or not I am fulfilling the purpose I was created to fulfill. And that will be worth it.