Waiting for the signal to exit my suburban neighborhood, I wasn’t really looking forward to going out “among them English” as Paul and I quote to one another. I dislike shopping just anyway but Christmas shopping I loathe with frosting on it. However, yesterday as I stared into space at the light at Eldorado Parkway, someone jogged into my line of sight and changed up everything.
Unbeknownst to me, he’s a bit of a local celebrity. He wasn’t tall, or particularly good-looking; he was a fairly average, fit, pleasant looking African American man, jogging down Eldorado in athletic gear appropriate to the cool temperatures. But he bore a beatific smile and was waving at cars as they sped past, asking via a brightly colored sign he carried, “What is YOUR Purpose?”
He turned that dazzling smile on me as he jogged past and I couldn’t help smiling back and he jogged over, free hand outstretched and I took it, and we blessed each other and smiled and then he continued his philosophical jog down Eldorado. I waved again at him when my light changed and I pulled out onto Eldorado myself and waved once again, lots farther down the road, on my return trip. He was still smiling, still brandishing the sign and cupping his free hand around an ear to hear the answers.
He was just so full of light and yes, purpose. My Election Funk has lingered, but he reminded me we all have purpose and it’s a fair bet mine is not wallowing in bewildered outrage forever.
It’s the end of one year and we have a shiny new one ready for launch. For me and my fellow Christians it is Advent, a time of expectation and preparation, an excellent time to think of my jogging friend and consider for the new year, What is YOUR Purpose? My first reaction was: to Love, as in approach my fellow man from a place of Love, always. This is a lot harder than it sounds – I’ve been trying to master this for years and yet the Snark persists. I fail a lot, but I keep trying at what St. Francis put best:
Lord, make me an instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
Is that my purpose? I have no idea, but I’ve always thought St. Francis’ prayer a fine place to start, despite my continual failures. It’s a reminder to live intentionally, purposefully, something my tyranny of schedules and lists can give the illusion of doing while falling well wide of the mark.
When I got home I goggled joggers on Eldorado Parkway and found my guy, Mr. Jimmy Lee Robinson; he’s been part of the Frisco/Little Elm scene for a couple years now, with a variety of signs, making people smile and think. God Bless you, Mr. Robinson, and I’ll be looking out for you along Eldorado, wondering what other good advice you have for me in the new year.