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Still Waters: Purposeful lives

Posted: Friday, Jan 4th, 2013

“I think that the most important thing in life is to have someone to love. If you can’t give them that, at least give them something to hope for. If you can’t give them that, at least give them something to do.” — Flight of the Phoenix

In the case of the characters in the movie “Flight of the Phoenix,” the “something to do” was rebuilding their airplane that had gone down in the desert. Even though they weren’t sure if they could ever get it to fly again, rebuilding it gave them some purpose to their lives. They had to rebuild it twice, providing a further lesson in perseverance, but they were finally able to fly out of their desert death trap.

We all need “something to do.” For me, it is writing and putting out a newspaper every day. After the holidays, I found I was glad to resume my work because it provided purpose to my days.

My folks are retired, but their days are very purposeful. They still serve in many ways in the church they attend, for example. They minister to lonely and hurting individuals through cards and personal visits. My mother bakes cookies and puts together goodie bags for the homeless in their city. They always have projects going.

All of my family members lead purposeful lives, whether it is keeping people warm in their Denver-area houses or helping clients at a Denver law firm through the painful process of divorce. I am proud of the ways my family members serve those around them.

Their lives do not just revolve around their jobs but also around the ways they share their time with loved ones and strangers. My little sister, for example, assists three of our families with our financial matters, a true gift to us.

All of us need “something to do.”

For those who may feel their lives lack purpose, there may be ways to become involved. Throw a stick, as the saying goes, and there’s a nonprofit needing volunteers. It might be a museum or library, a church or a shelter home. Someone out there can use you.

If you are not physically able to get out, perhaps you can share your heart with others over the phone or email, through cards in the mail or through prayers. Never discount the power of purposeful prayers. That is something all of us can do.

Of course it is nice to have “someone to love” and “something to hope for,” but “if you can’t give them that, at least give them something to do.”

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