My twins and youngest son and I attended my friend Kristi’s daughter’s last lacrosse game of her college career at George Fox University, where my twins are freshmen. I love looking for opportunities to see my boys on campus and it was fun to be able to combine it with a time to see Kristi and her lovely folks, Sharin and Dave, who I’ve known since my oldest two children were preschool age, about 25 years.
Sharin and Dave have always reached out to me and my family to make us feel valued; one year she invited my family over to her home to celebrate Kristi’s birthday, and I would see her at other events that Kristi hosted. Sharin would ask my kids and me questions, and has told me how much she values my friendship with her daughter.
After the lacrosse game, Sharin and I caught up on what was going on in our lives, and she noted how nice my kids are. In turn, I also reflected on her family, how her three daughters are so close, and how Kristi had told me one of the reasons is because her mom made a deliberate effort to keep her family connected, especially as her kids got older; she’d call to remind them each to reach out to one another, to remember birthdays and to host gatherings; and they always had family reunions where they would get together at a large beach home; each of the family members makes it a priority to be there.
I told Sharin I wanted to write down what she said as I love learning the stories and lessons of others; they give me fodder for future blog posts and stories for the book I am working on about family life and parenting. Sharin added that she wishes she were also a writer, and I told her we are all writers, but she said it is not for her.
I added that yeah, writing definitely is my thing — to write down everything and to reflect on the story and life — it is something that I have done since I was in fifth grade. Then she said something that surprised me. She said: “That’s neat. I don’t know what ‘my thing’ is.”
I didn’t hesitate and said, “Oh, Sharin, you do have ‘your thing,’ a few things in fact. You have the gift of hospitality, which my family has had the privilege of experiencing in your beautiful home. You have the gift of encouragement; and, look at your family, the way you live with such intentionality in raising your girls to be close as adults.” Kristi joined in our conversation and added, “and service, mom has the gift of service. When I am preparing for a party, mom will come over to help and just get things done, helping with whatever needs to be done.”
Identifying our “thing” — our calling, our vocation, our purpose — Is huge. It helps give us focus. It offers us purpose. It provides a structure for our life. It makes us not feel so inadequate. It helps us embrace what we do and who we are to give us peace.
I think of the verse in Proverbs 29:18: “The people without a vision will perish.” We need a vision to move forward, to feel a reason for being.
For writers, as I am, we have to find our niche, our focus area, what we primarily write about on our blogs, and in our articles and books. At the recent Festival of Faith and Writing, I reconnected again with author and speaker Deidra Riggs, who keynoted at the Faith & Culture Writers Conference in 2014; she emphasizes in her work and speeches the importance of women and men of color being equally represented in the church; Idelette McVicker, whom I met at the February SheLoves Magazine event that she hosts, stands up for the voice of women and the marginalized; she longs to help women find their purpose. And, Belinda Bauman was also at the conference (but is not in this photo) works toward bringing an end to the war and violence against women in forgotten places. As for my specific writing emphasis, my pen tends toward family life, faith, being present, and adventure.
Find your thing. Perhaps you are already doing it or maybe it is something you are still looking for. What is it your work and calling and vocation? Live it out, identify it, find it, know it.
If you are a parent, helping your kids find ‘their thing’ is vital. Kids need to find their purpose, their community, their reason for being, their place of belonging where they are contributing to the world.
Find your thing, your passion, your calling. Sometimes it takes exploring different kinds of areas to see what your thing is and sometimes you are already doing your thing and just need a reminder that you are doing a great job.