Orphan Survival Stories Index |
FINDING "A PURPOSE"
Most of the time I just sit in my office writing short stories. There are pictures of my friends, as well as my family taped to the edges of the many bookshelves which line the room.
On the shelves are ten copies of every book I have written. I buy these books specifically to send to children who take the time to write me a personal letter. I also have five copies of every book published that has one of my stories in it. There are books from Japan, France, Canada, Australia, Spain, India and the United States.
This morning, I am in one of my many moods. It is not a good mood or a bad mood. It is sort of a "what does it all mean" mood.
I sit here wondering if we are really "living life" or if we are just "playing life."
My home is an eighteen-year-old doublewide mobile home. I drive a 1998 Chevy, extended cab pickup truck, which has one hundred and eighty thousand miles on the odometer. It drives well and it looks good. In total comfort, it takes me where ever I want to go. I have taken very good care of it and it takes very good care of me.
I own a brand new twenty-one foot boat, which has never left my garage since the day I bought it, three years ago. I own a two-year-old travel trailer, which sits vacant day after day with its tires rotting away. I only use it once a year to attend the family reunion camping trip held at Santee, Lake Marion, in August.
There was a time when I wanted to own a Corvette and live on the island where the rich folks live. Of course, there was also a time when I cared a whole bunch about sex. Maybe that is what drove those dreams and my high expectations. Maybe I felt that in order to be 'somebody' that I had to have those things or that those things might bring a little more sex into my life. I really do not know.
For some strange reason those kinds of things do not seem to matter much to me any more. As long as I can pay my basic bills, feed myself and take the wife out to dinner once a week, I am rather content.
Yesterday my son called and asked if I would come over and help him remove the chrome rims and wide tires from his van. I was surprised when he told me that he was going to sell them, that they did not matter to him any more. That gas mileage was a much more important thing.
He laughed when I told him that, as a young man, I had spent more than twenty thousand dollars on tires, rims and carburetors and that there was a time when I would have had my damn underwear done in chrome, if it were possible.
I guess there comes a time when we begin to realize that being "important" is not so important after all. I guess, being rich and famous really mean very little, especially when you come to the realization that you are just one of the many specks of sand, struggling to hold its position, on the beach of life.
Why does it take so many years for us to realize that life is a game that is supposed to be "lived" and not "played?" Why do some people find it necessary to own ten apple trees when the other guy's family, consisting of five, owns but one and it feeds them well?
It appears to me that we were given a time to play. When that playtime has passed, another time takes its place. It becomes a time to teach and help those who have yet to play. It becomes time for us to tell those who are about to play about the pitfalls and mistakes which lay ahead. Our only true reason for living is so that we may have "a purpose". Without a purpose, we are just breathing and waiting around to die.
I remember an incident last year, shortly after my wife and I had just returned from a week’s vacation at Santee Lake. As the cats were low on food, she asked me if I would go to Public's Supermarket to pick up a large package of Whiskas cat food. Brunswick, Georgia is not a very large place so driving to the supermarket takes but a few minutes.
After making the purchase, I walked out of the store and began to look for my truck. Generally, I pay a little more attention to where I park. However, for some reason I had forgotten to take notice of my location in the large parking lot. As I was searching for my vehicle, I saw a woman wondering around the parking lot.
"Can't find your car?" I asked her, as I somewhat laughed.
She looked at me with strange eyes and she said not a word. Her face seemed to be drawing a blank.
"Ma'am, are you alright?" I asked.
"Can you tell me where California is?" she replied.
"California, what part? I'm from California," I responded.
"California," she said again.
All at once, she began to walk in a small circle. As she walked around, she would look to the right, then to her left.
"California. I need to find California. Can someone help me, please," she kept repeating.
I immediately knew that something was wrong and that I needed to get help. I stood there wondering what I should do. I did not want to leave the woman wondering around a busy parking lot, as a vehicle might hit her. Just at that moment, a young woman came walking out of the store and yelled in our direction. As she approached our location, I learned that the woman was her sister. That she had Alzheimer’s disease and that she had wondered out of the store on her own. I watched as the woman slowly led her to a car and strapped her in with the seat belt.
As they drove away, I stopped for a minute and retraced my entrance into the supermarket parking lot. After several minutes, I located my vehicle. I opened the truck door, stuck the key into the ignition, and I began my drive home. The entire time thinking about the woman who was searching for California.
How many times had I driven this route? Each time I always take for granted that I knew where I was going. I never even gave it a second thought.
It is knowing, where we are headed, every minute of everyday, that allows us to know not only where we are in this world, but also who we are. Creation has given us a built-in global positioning system. It is totally useless to us unless we can direct ourselves back to some sort of "a purpose." Without having "a purpose" in our lives, it really does not matter who we are or where we are.