“There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you.” ~ Dr. Maya Angelou
What will the message of your life be?
Once you are gone and those who experienced you look back and say “Here’s how he impacted me” or “Here’s how her life changed mine” ~ what will they say?
What do you want them to say?
What is the legacy your life will leave in its wake?
What is the mark you want your life to make on the world? How will you know you are making it?
With the recent passing of Dr. Maya Angelou, I’ve been pondering questions like these lately. She did such an impressive job of knowing her unique purpose, and living it out in a singular and focused way, with all the courage and grace she could muster. Her life has impacted millions. I myself can honestly say I am different because of her life and writings.
So in her honor, I offer you 5 great thoughts on Purpose, and a beautiful video short story that asks us all to consider: If you wrote a final letter to those who come after you, what would it say? What do you want the message of your life to be?
Whatever it is, better get living it. Today.
“Tell me…do you not feel a spirit stirring within you that longs to know, to do, and to dare, to hold converse with the great world of thought, and hold before you some high and noble object to which the vigor of your mind and the strength of your arm may be given? Do you not have longings like these, which you breathe to no one, and which you feel must be heeded, or you will pass through life unsatisfied and regretful? I am sure you have them, and they will forever cling round your heart till you obey their mandate. They are the voices of that nature which God has given you, and which, when obeyed, will bless you and your fellow men.” ~ James A. Garfield
“If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair; but ask me what I am living for, in detail, and ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for.” ~ Thomas Merton
“Vocation does not come from willfulness. It comes from listening. I must listen to my life and try to understand what it is truly about – quite apart from what I would like it to be about – or my life will never represent anything real in the world, no matter how earnest my intentions. That insight is hidden in the word vocation itself, which is rooted in the Latin for ‘voice.’ Vocation does not mean a goal that I pursue. It means a calling that I hear. Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am…” ~ Parker Palmer
“We can live any way we want. People take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience—even of silence—by choice. The thing is to stalk your calling in a certain skilled and supple way, to locate the most tender and live spot and plug into that pulse…I think it would be well, and proper, and obedient, and pure, to grasp your one necessity and not let it go, to dangle from it limp wherever it takes you.” ~ Annie Dillard
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do that. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.” ~ Howard Thurman