October 4, 2016, Top 60%
High school was a challenge for me. I graduated in the top 60% of the Morgan Park high school class of 1964 (about 600 kids). Somebody needed to support the top half and I did that very well. While I was definitely not one of the “cool” guys, at least they let me hang around with them. My glory days in sports ended in the 8th grade. In a high school where size mattered, I didn’t. I took up karate well before Chuck Norris made it popular. This too had some pluses and minuses. The good part was the big guys didn’t pick on me, the bad part was it didn’t make me mister popular either (fear of my lethal karate chop can work for you and against you). I had a good buddy (Ken) to run with and we had some good times. We actually did a “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” before they made the movie (the getting caught part was not fun). Hopes, dreams and visions playing out in the daily life of a teenage boy.
My home during high school was good. There was me, mom, dad and three sisters (I had my own bedroom). One sister’s smarter than Einstein, one more creative that Walt Disney, and one that was four years older than me and who never fought fair (I always got caught). I smile when I look back and realize that it was during this time in my life that I came to understand something important. Knowing that you are loved and knowing your purpose in life – are two different things.
I graduated from high school wondering about my purpose in life. I confess that wondering about this stayed with me for a long time. My years in the Air Force, college, law school, and seminary taught me many thing. One thing they all had in common was they all assumed, that just by being there, I was actively fulfilling my life’s purpose. Some assumptions are just plain wrong. While admittedly my life has not been a heated quest to discover this missing purpose, the wondering I left high school with never went away. It was more like elevator music playing in the background of my life. Sometimes the music was louder and sometimes softer, but never totally silent.
Over the years doors opened and doors closed, our children grew up and had children of their own, my hair turned gray and my bride of many years is still beautiful. And then my wondering days were over. I knew my purpose. The realization didn’t happen on some afternoon at 2:00. I just began to realize that peace and satisfaction had become good friends that came to visit far more often. I was enjoying life as never before.
To my surprise my purpose in life was simply to enjoy each day I am given. To find this I merely had to open my eyes and look at the world a little differently. I was still to do my best with what is placed before me. That had not changed. The difference came when I realized there was no truth in the “idea” that work and play are different. They are simply names that had confused me about an amazing adventure called life.
If you have found your purpose in life, you know my journey. If you still wondering, stay with it - it is worth the wait.
Moral - can be summed up in a quote from Yogi Berra: “It ain’t over until it’s over.”