When I was a in grade school, I always would say to my mother: “I have no clue what my life purpose is. Why am I here?” My mother would always give me the same response, quoting from the Baltimore Catechism: “To know, love and serve God.” That was just too vague for me. I wanted a perfectly calculated plan with steps involved. I wanted to do great things, but the problem was, I didn’t have a clue what those great things would be. I did not know my place in this world
I remember telling a college professor “I feel like a lost soul without a compass.” It was quite a dramatic statement but I honestly felt like I was floating around in circles all the time. While I was floating all over the place, I would see my contemporaries blazing ahead of me and achieving their goals. I found myself barely keeping up and wondering what was taking me so long to get my life figured out. I always would pray for guidance and reassurance and found myself still confused. I would often wonder if the Lord had forgotten about me. After all, there are so many people in this world. How could He possibly squeeze me into His schedule?
But our Lord exists beyond time and space and so the only explanation I can provide for myself is that perhaps He is preparing me for something bigger than my small mind can imagine. I often think about how my great ancestors wandered in the desert for 40 years after their great exodus from Egypt. They were all set to enter the Promised Land, but apparently they had to be whipped into shape before they could enter and take possession of the land. They had to learn to rely on God instead of their own understanding of the world around them, a very simple idea that is very difficult to put into practice. Maybe that is the reason behind the delay of finding my spiritual vocation. Maybe I am just not quite ready yet to take hold of the work that God has in mind for me.
I have always been a late bloomer in life, but even though I was slow in accomplishing the major milestones of my life, the Lord did not give up on me for He knew that when the time was right, I would learn and succeed. I have learned that the Lord allows things to happen in His given time, not mine.
I was born a week late, but I did indeed arrive into this world. I learned to walk when I two years old, much later than the average child, but I learned how to walk. Furthermore, I was delayed at learning how to speak. Because of my hearing loss, I began talking when I was three and a half years old. However I did learn to talk, and I must say that have definitely made up for lost time!
My delayed speech thus caused a delay in my ability to socially interact with other children and thus needed an extra year of preschool to catch up. After attending preschool for three years, I entered kindergarten when I was 6 years old. My classmates were 5 years old, so I was the oldest child in my class. I was the oldest but I was not the tallest, the fasted, nor the smartest. I remember always being the last to finish my schoolwork, but I did complete my schoolwork and fulfilled my teacher’s expectations.
When I studied music in college, I was the only student in my class who had a bi-lateral hearing loss as well as a visual impairment, but ironically, I was the only student in my class who had absolute pitch (the ability to recognize the sound of individual notes played on the piano). However, I have learned to never assume that things are what they seem. It may seem paradoxical for someone with a severe hearing loss to be musically inclined, but I have learned that with God, all things are possible.
When I look back on my life, I think God has been telling me to relax and to be patient and to not be so preoccupied with the world and its standards . Maybe He is saying something like: “Jennifer, just stick with Me. I got your back.”
So why am I here? That is the question we all ask ourselves throughout our lives. We are here to know, love and serve God in this world so and to be happy with Him forever in heaven. My mother and the Baltimore catechism were right all along, but it took many years for me to see it myself.
It is interesting how the world can get in the way and cause you to not see things as they really are. The world is full of illusions that can trick the mind into believing things. The world tells you that your worth is based on your career instead of your character or how much you earn, not much you give. But a person’s career can change just liking their earnings can change. Does that make them less worthy?
I am only 33 years old, but my life has been a series of changes, a series of gains and losses. This world constantly changes and yet God has been a consistent force in my life. Going to mass is like going home again. It’s so familiar and yet so special. It makes me remember where I came from, where I am going and where I hope to end up once I leave this world: Heaven.
A co-worker said to me once: “You were made for this world. Do you agree?”
“No, ” I answered her, “I was not made for this world, I was made for the next one.”
“That’s so sad, don’t say that.”
“No it’s not, we are just passing through. It is this world that prepares us for the next.”
And now a quote:
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15-17)