good things come in small packages
As I stuffed hundreds of envelopes, I developed a rhythmic pattern to my task: flip open the envelope, slip in the paper, run the sponge over the lip, seal—over and over again. The task was menial, but as I scanned the room with my eyes and saw the offices that would become the private treatment rooms, massage rooms, and meeting rooms, I knew that the people who would be walking through these doors to find comfort and help had it much worse than me. They would be dealing with HIV-AIDS, lupus, and cancer. As this registered, I began to feel the shedding of my own desperation. I recognized that my disease was merely a lack of perspective—and although it was snuffing out my spirit and weakening my body, my perspective was definitely something I had the power to change.

Today, I can tell you that the pain I was experiencing and the day in the big, white space were all for a reason. Without that pain, I would not have discovered that I had a calling to help other people and I would not have gone on to spend close to twenty years coaching and counseling others. All of the pain I had experienced had invited growth—and more pain and more growth. And while it’s not over yet, the cycle has become less intense over the years.

And now, just as the growth is welcomed, the pain can be welcomed too.

As a life coach and now, more recently, as an interfaith minister as well, people call on me to help them heal their lives. “Let me understand my place. That will bring me peace,” is something I hear often. I know the longing that comes with those thoughts. There is pain in not seeing a clear path set out before us to follow. There is pain in not feeling valuable or knowing how we are to leave our mark. We want to know we matter. We struggle when we are not recognized or we feel there is nothing particularly outstanding about us. We have egos and we need validation. We need to be witnessed. Like the little kid about to jump off the diving board at the pool saying: “Mom, look at me, look at me!” we never quite outgrow that. We demand evidence of our existence and feel better when we have it.

So what is this mysterious thing called Meaning? Well, it can come in many shapes and sizes, but one thing is for sure: it’s something we humans all want. And in today’s world our desire for it has taken on a new intensity.

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