Bob Denny: What’s your purpose?
Published: Tuesday, June 25, 2013 at 3:45 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, June 25, 2013 at 3:45 p.m.
Have you ever felt as if you’re adrift on the big sea of life, with no rudder or motor? Do you sometimes ask yourself, “What’s my purpose?”
You may know people who seem to have a cause, a purpose, or want to make a difference. Not long ago, I read where some teens learned how hard it can be for our soldiers who serve in foreign lands to keep in touch with their families. They came up with the idea of collecting old cell phones, and sending boxes of them to our troops.
Some women in our local church knit lap blankets for patients in nursing homes or hospitals. A pilot found out that dogs in city shelters were typically put to sleep when homes couldn’t be found, so he formed “Pilots and Paws.” These pilots volunteer to use their planes to transport the pets to rural areas, where people are waiting to give them good homes.
Would you like to have a cause in your life? There are many opportunities. It could be as simple as finding people in need, and using some of your skills, talents, or abilities to help them meet those needs.
What is a “cause?” I think that it’s finding people in need, and finding a way to use your skills, talents, abilities and knowledge to help and to make a difference. I believe that anyone can make a difference, and make the world a little better because they are here, if they choose to.
A teenager hooked up with a doctor and traveled throughout Africa, helping administer de-worming medication for infested and malnourished children. Other teens collected old or junk bicycles, and made “new bikes from old” for kids who otherwise would have no Christmas presents.
My friend “Cowboy Dave” brings classic country and gospel music with his band into nursing homes, assisted living facilities, the VA hospital, and senior centers. Police officers collect teddy bears, and Marines conduct “Toys for Tots” at Christmas.
Our minister also works as a full-time drug rehab counselor with the VA hospital. Recent floods and tornadoes need volunteer help in rebuilding. Your local emergency management center can use volunteers to answer phones and hand out water or sandbags in a disaster situation. Maybe your own job gives you the opportunity to make a difference, and help those in need.
A cause can take as little as a few minutes of your day, or it could last a lifetime. Captain Sully was given a cause: He became an instant hero, when he successfully crash landed his falling airliner in the Hudson River, with no casualties.
On the other hand, Gandhi dedicated his entire lifetime working for world peace. A scientist may spend his entire life looking for a cure for cancer, but Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson can also make a huge difference and raise millions of dollars, just by wearing pink shirts to increase breast cancer awareness, in one PGA golf tournament.
Want to find your own cause? Start by answering these three questions:
* Where can I find folks in need, who could use my skills, talents, or abilities to help?
* What skills, knowledge, interests, and traits do I have that I can use to help them? Make a short list of ways you could help.
* What am I willing to do to help? What’s my first step?
You may find that opportunities abound. Do you like to write letters? The post office gets too many Santa letters each year, and letter writers are always needed.
What’s something that you could do today, right now, to start the ball rolling? Who needs your help right away? When you take that first step, however small, and feel some satisfaction, you may find that you want to do more.
Nothing jumps out at you right away? That’s okay. Keep open to the possibilities. Whatever you do, thanks for just being who you are, and for making the world a little better because you’re here.
Bob Denny is a Florida licensed mental health therapist and teaches psychology at Florida Gateway College. Direct comments to Bob.Denny8@gmail.com.