The Limelight.

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These fragile blooms.

So beautiful.

So delicate.

So transient.

They catch the filtered evening sun on the forest floor.

I kneel down to take a photo. Already the little petals are beginning to wilt from days of heat, but here in the limelight, there is a moment of glory, intoxicating nectar, seasonal timing, and my,  what colour.

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Albert Einstein declared humanity’s purpose to be freedom, Ralph Emerson ‘to make a difference. For others, life’s purpose is beauty (Amit Ray) or happiness.

But this seems like an awfully narrow definition of life, or even of purpose.

The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death. Proverbs 14, 27. NIV

For some Christians, life seems to be a ‘holding place’ where we mainly work and do the best we can with the lot we are given while we wait for Heaven.

I am looking forward to Heaven but I can’t help but think life on earth is more than a ‘car park’ for the disillusioned.

My purpose in life is to bring glory to God. How I do this, is (scarily) up to me!

“Ours is a waiting world. But what will we grow in the emptiness? What will we cultivate with the moments and resources given to us? I want to grow a living hope. Something as vivid and as alive as a bed of flowers.” – Christie Purifoy (Roots and Sky).

This fountain of life, placed in each of us is freedom and beauty and love and joy and all of the deep purpose of being part of the eternal Kingdom of Jesus. Each of us reflect the kingdom in as varied ways as there are elements of God’s creation.

Like the flowers of the field, our moment in the limelight is transient. We can become consumed with the transience itself, or we can live out our purpose well.

If only it were that easy. A delicate plant reaching out to the sun.

We humans are a little more complicated. Choice, self, money, happiness, even carving out one’s legacy can all get in the way of reflecting God’s glory and God’s purpose.

Eighteen months ago I hung up my ‘medical hat’ for good.  I had worn it far too long really.

I’ve (secretly) tried on many other ‘hats’ since, scrutinising my proverbial reflection in the mirror. There are some hats I like the look of, but they don’t suit me and I can’t see myself wearing them publicly.

Sure, my medical hat was not the formal ‘trilby with jaunty feather’ sort of creation you may imagine many doctors wearing. Mine was more of a balaclava style, inexpertly folded hijab.

This headgear was a foolish choice I know, but safe, and it paid well.

I’m working on my new image. At the moment the look is ‘sans headpiece’, my hair a little too irregularly coloured, flats, jeans, and a comfy cardigan.

I know I won’t ever go back to practicing medicine. A decision made by me after many years of consideration. I’m fine with this really, but I miss the detective work in the day job, the hunting down of clues, the sizing up and the putting it all together stuff. I think I was pretty good at this.

I love scripture. I’m even beginning to love the Old Testament.

In two kings we read the somewhat tragic story of Joash. As a baby, he was rescued from certain death by a vengeful woman, then spent the first six years of his life with his ‘nurse’ in hiding in a temple. He emerged to face the evils of an imposter queen and unthinkable responsibility for his nation at an age where developmentally he was still in the world of magical thinking and copy-cat moral reasoning.

He proved to be a weak King overall, his reign characterised by spineless leadership and appeasement of aggressors. But, he had followed the Lord. This statement shines out boldly from the pages of documented evil and wilful rebellion against God in the Jewish dynasty immediately preceding him.

Perhaps we will be judged, not for what we achieve in life but for how we deal with the particular set of challenges we have been faced with.

There are many days when I would like to wind the clock back, chose a different career path as a teenager, been more confident to make difficult decisions earlier in my career path, been stronger, been more thoughtful, been well, just different.

But the path that I am on, I know I am walking with God, and for now, that is enough.

 

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