06 Feb Finding purpose in the small things
He began by giving thanks.
He thanked Lego, he thanked Marvel, he thanked the cast and crew of Frozen, the inventor of trampolines and Paw Patrol and Teen Titans. He thanked the Foo Fighters and Led Zeppelin and children’s authors Julia Donaldson, David Walliams and Dav Pilkey.
He spoke of the joy and connection and precious snuggle time these creative endeavours had brought to their family, amidst the busyness of daily life. Of how these works had shaped the children’s humour and inspired them to take drama classes.
Are you crying yet? I know I was.
Last week, when a friend shared this eulogy given by a father at the funeral of his three young children, I was moved beyond measure. That he could find it in him to feel gratitude, in the deepest of losses, for all the joy these works of creativity had brought to his young family.
I share this with you not to be maudlin, nor to dwell on a family tragedy, but to echo the father’s concluding plea to all these creators who had enriched his children’s short lives:
Creators, please continue with your wonderful work.
In the online space, where words like passion and purpose are often bandied about, it’s easy to fall into a trap of feeling like the work you do is just not….well, meaningful enough.
You know when you do those painful ideal client exercises and you have to identify how your work benefits the people you serve, how it meets a need or solves a problem, how it changes lives, how it makes a difference, how you are creating your legacy.
If you’re anything like me you might think:
‘Sheesh, I’m not saving lives here. I’m not creating world peace.
I’m just taking my photographs /creating my art / designing cakes / brewing beer /writing words
I’m just selling mortgages / designing websites /managing projects/ doing consulting work’
We get sold this idea that work has to have some mega-altruistic purpose to be of value. It’s all about the PURPOSE people! Show me your WHY! C’mon where’s your passion?! Where’s the social enterprise, the longterm vision of a charitable foundation?
Gimme a break.
What if the benefit you bring is simply a moment of joy in a busy day?
A moment of connection between parent and child
A moment of connection with self
A moment of dancing around the kitchen
A moment of looking in the mirror and liking what she sees
A moment where she feels heard and understood
A moment where she stops to reflect on all that is right and good in her life
A moment where feels safe, knowing her financial future is in hand
A moment where she knows she is enough
You may never witness those moments. You may never realise quite how your work lights up someone’s day. You may never fully comprehend how much it impacts someone’s life.
Life is made up of moments, a truism that’s all too easy to lose sight of in the day-to-day grind. Creating an opportunity to press pause, to reflect, to connect, to feel understood, or simply bringing a touch of magic to those moments is no small endeavour.
Maybe it is the most important task of all?
Creator, hug your loved ones close tonight.
And as a brave father once said, keep going.