Measuring Up

I love a purpose. I want to feel as if what I do makes a difference.

That said…sometimes it’s difficult not to be intimidated by the accomplishments of others. I forget that smiling at someone on the street may be the most important thing I do in a day. Or fixing a healthy meal for my husband. Or remembering to “like” the photo that my grandniece posted of her two children on Facebook. Even taking a soothing bath when I am on edge may change my approach to life.

It’s just that some people have such dedication and pizazz. Twice in the last year I’ve even been a bit cowed by the testimonials at friends’ memorial services. Really? Envious of a (dare I say it) dead person? But even allowing for glowing praise in hindsight, I get impressed by the stories of how fun, or how helpful, or how loving and joyful people have been in their lives.

Still, after returning from one of these events it made me think twice when my (living) friend was short-changing her own accomplishments. “What have I done with my life?” she said.

I realized how caught up we get in grandiose purpose. How we judge ourselves by the Oprahs and the Mother Theresas, the Bill Gates and the corporate heads,  even the senatorial and presidential candidates. It’s hard to measure up.

So I am claiming great purpose in being who we are.

This is a shout out to the good friends who listen and stand by.

This is praise for the husbands, wives and lovers who give great care to their relationships and sometimes end up as caregivers.

This is for those of us who have day jobs – who just go to work every day to everything from keeping books to changing beds – and do our best, even if some days our best is not as good as others.

This is for all of the parents who raise their children (and sometimes, grandchildren) because they understand the responsibility.

This is for the artists, housekeepers, landscapers and home gardeners who create beauty.

This is grocery clerks and baristas who stand on their feet all day long and still manage to smile.

This is for the teachers – on all levels – who help form our future.

Of course, I can’t name all of you who  make a difference in my life. But I’ll know you when I see you. And I’ll remember the little ways I can make a difference, too.

That’s purpose!



  1. I LOVE this post! I also have a deep need to feel like my efforts matter and to believe I am making a difference. Because of that I left my job and familiar home in the USA to serve a Family History mission for my church in the South Pacific. That was the right match for ME. But in so many ways people can find purpose and meaning right where they are within the day to day routines of their lives. It comes down to living by design rather than default. Being mindful can happen anywhere.


  2. My dear, who you ARE speaks volumes. You are a gift to all who know you. And, you have also DONE a large number of good works in the world. I’d be happy to rattle some of them off anytime you’re wondering about that.


    • I am certainly happy with my life, dear friend, and still admire the dedication of others. I’m happy if I can keep that to admiration and not some weird self-denigration. I think we all make a difference…and all in different ways. Thank you for your constant support.


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