The weirdest part of it all is the massively personal nature of growing up. Every human being in the history of the planet has met that moment in life where they paused and thought, terrified, about the future rushing so dangerously toward them. And every human has realized in an instant how terribly near adulthood had grown, and how temporary everything really is. How insignificant. And despite the frequency of these soul-shattering, intensely huge moments; despite this, every single time a child’s heart breaks, to be replaced by the heart of an adult, it feels like the first time. The only time. Every transitioning human believes for a moment that their journey has been the only journey, that this moment is unique to them and them alone; that they, somehow, are different in their jarring realization of reality. And in a way, they are right, despite the likenesses of every other terrified teen that has gone before. Now, for the current petrified youth, it’s just a question of growing up in such a way that the growing is toward the light; and taking that stone cold terror and making it something good and productive for the world to hold onto after our wisp-of-smoke lives are over.
Purpose is family
Bloodshot eyes at 3 am, rubbing circles
As a mother treads heavily into the kitchen
To ask if you’re anywhere near done with that project.
Purpose is love
An eight year old whose eyes light up
When you walk in the room, soon to be
Tackled by an energetic bundle of youth.
Purpose is weather
Whipping, lashing rain that imprisons you indoors with the love of your life
Snow that lets the sun glint off it so brightly you must squint to dodge snowballs
A bright, clean day full of flapping leaves and swaying trees.
Purpose is creation
A brand new work of art, strokes and notes and words just so
Never before seen or heard or brought to life with gentle, genuine lips
An otherwise lifeless arrangement given humanity by curious eyes.
Purpose is service
Worn, battered, wounded and scarred; men and women who risked everything
Smiling as you refill someone’s drink through the drive-through
Bending your back so the elderly once-mother no longer has to do so.
Purpose is life
Inhaling it in with the best of them;
Crying as touching sappy movies explore family and forgiveness
Wiping your eyes after a night of grief to let them see the new dawn
Resting and relaxing so that tough times can be endured.
Purpose is grace
Unfettered, reckless and raucous and loud and pronounced
Unashamedly calling to everyone
Redeeming, recalling, renewing, reviving
Purpose is life, love, family, creation, service, surroundings, grace.
Your purpose is to live.
Why do the grass blades remind me of you
As the wind flows and taps on their heads?
Why does the rain as it falls sing your name
Why does my stomach refuse cheese and bread?
The pavement is warm and the steam rises slow
My thoughts of you break me, my spirits are low.
The cold touches my arms and I shiver alone
Wishing your embrace in the place of a coat.