Some people think that everyone has a place in life, and we all just need to find our place and “fill” it. Others believe that we are all free to make our own way, follow our own truth, and decide of our own accord what and who to be.
In the end, regardless of which path they choose, many people end up desperately searching for their little niche at home, at work, or in their group of friends or community, and wedging themselves tightly in, so pleased to have found it, and hoping to settle in for life.
When you hit bottom, when dreams give way to disappointment, when all you’ve worked so hard for goes to pieces, you are tempted to despair. In extreme situations you may be tempted to just give up and stop trying.
That’s when you must remember that you were created for a purpose, and that purpose isn’t a single, one-time thing; it’s multifaceted and complex. As long as you live, there will be something more you can accomplish, something more you are meant to accomplish, and there is always more to learn in life.
I came across a gem of an article from a 1997 Reader’s Digest about what was then the world’s largest-producing diamond mine—the Argyle mine, in Western Australia. At its peak, it yielded tens of millions of carats per year, including 90% of all pink diamonds.
The story begins in 1969. Nine diamonds were found in the Leonard River. The geologists figured there must be a significant deposit in the area—but where? Like all good mysteries, these early discoveries were only tantalizing teasers of what might be.
In Ann Kiemel’s book I’m Out to Change My World, there’s a section in which the author is explaining to her mom about an ongoing difficulty she is experiencing in her life. Her mother’s reply goes like this:
For several years, I was part of a theater group that often performed the inspiring allegorical tale “The Man Who Planted Trees.” It’s the story of Elzéard Bouffier, an old shepherd who reforested a large region of Southern France by planting one tree at a time as he tended his sheep. This story was made into an Academy Award-winning animation,1 a BBC production, an acclaimed puppet show, and has inspired countless individuals to start tree-planting projects since it was first published by Jean Giono in 1953.
One Monday morning, about an hour into the workday, I checked my emails. “Sad” was the subject heading of a personal message, and I opened it up, curiosity piqued. “Sad” did not begin to describe it. I learned that our friend Roy had died suddenly the day before. He had been cycling with his wife Sunday afternoon when he became the victim of a hit-and-run accident. The words swam before my eyes, and I functioned in a fog for the rest of the day.
It is said that there are three artists that give us music: God, who gives us magical wood to make the instruments; the instrument maker, who after months of labor awakens the music dwelling in the wood; then the musical maestro, who liberates the music from its woody confines to set the listener free.
I witnessed firsthand an illustration of music’s redemptive power when I visited a women’s prison in Uganda. In some cases, these women were pregnant or lived within the prison walls with their children in tow, as there was no one else to take care of them.
In 2007, the Netherlands instituted a two-hundred-year plan for adapting to and preparing for climate change.1 With two-thirds of the Dutch population living below sea level, changes in climate can have a drastic and tragic effect on this nation—hence the extreme caution.
Have you ever wished you could do something that would change the world? But did you ever feel that your obscure little life would leave no mark? You have no idea how wrong you are.
We can all make a difference, every single one of us. That doesn’t mean that any of us can stop all wars, find a cure for cancer, and end all famine and poverty. But each of us can play the role God has given us to the best of our ability.
Each event in your life, each thought, each decision, each bit of love, and each interaction with someone else is like a thread in a tapestry. Day after day, dark threads and bright threads are woven together, often, it seems, without rhyme or reason, but in the end they form a picture. When I look at the tapestry of your life, I see a beautiful work!