Sunday, April 3, 2011

Finding Your Joy...

Today we had a visiting priest at Church. He is someone I have heard speak numerous times and never disappoints, which is generally true in my world of people who live their faith openly. Today he asked to direct his thoughts to the youth of our parish, and proceeded to share with them a life lesson: find your purpose and you will find your joy.

Initially I thought this could be quite a daunting task, as I am 41 years old and still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. But he broke it down very easily. He advised to begin looking at the things people compliment you on outside of the clothes you are wearing and the material things you possess. Whether it be musical talent, the ability to speak to others, the comfort others feel in speaking to you, artistic abilities, knowledge, etc. hone in on these things and start from there. Once you find your purpose, you will experience pure joy.

Father then broke down the difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is fleeting. Joy stays with you constantly. Happiness is when I have paid the bills at the end of the week; it lasts for a few days but then disappears with Monday's mail. Joy is the constant feeling of being financially responsible. Happiness is meeting new people. Joy is a new friend made when stepping outside of a comfort zone. 

This really got me thinking...what is my purpose and from where does my joy derive? Of course, my family and friends bring me joy, which for the most part is constant. Writing brings me joy. My faith brings me joy. But what is my purpose?

I believe God puts me in specific places at specific times to fulfill His purpose. I don't think I always do such a bang-up job. For instance, I recall the scripture when Christ teaches if someone slaps my cheek, I must turn and offer them the other cheek. Uhm...yeah...I'm not really good with that one. My ego gets in the way and I struggle with why am I always the one trying to take the high road and why isn't the one who seems to enjoy making my life miserable ever brought into the light? This then results in copious amounts of guilt that after 41 years I still don't get it.

Obviously, I still have a lot of work to do.

Tonight was our last Faith Formation class of the season. I have been blessed with an amazing group of teens who will go on next year to make their Confirmation. As there are two Catechists who already have these classes, this is the end of the road for me to be with this group. After pondering my purpose all afternoon, we ended our last class saying good-bye, promising to keep in touch, me promising to go on a service weekend with them and promising to be at their Confirmation next year.

I was then presented with a gift and card from one of my students, which I thanked him for and said I'd open later 'cuz I knew I would cry. And I did. The card said:

For His Special Purpose
To Shine His Light
To Share His Love
To Shape His People
Are Making a Difference
In Ways You Don't Even Realize
And You're Very Much Appreciated

Okay, me being the basket-case emotional person I am, I was sobbing with this. But it was the personal message that did it:

...{Awesome student} has so enjoyed the past two years with you and I truly believe it is because of you he has grown so much in his faith and will continue to do so. You have planted a beautiful seed!

I have found my purpose...and my joy.

I am right where I am supposed to be...and I am blessed.

1 comment:

  1. Could you please share with me some hints and ideas for teaching CCD? I am going to be teaching for the first time next fall and I am very nervous. Excited, but nervous. I am a new convert, and have never taught anything before. I will be teaching sixth graders. Thanks! and I love this blog.


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