Yesterday, I was coming home on the bus from my volunteer efforts on behalf of the homeless, when I ran into an elderly gentleman on the bus. Our eyes connected and we smiled at one another. I just had a feeling that something good was going to come of it, and I was right.
The Struggle To Provide
He lowered his voice and admitted to me that he was so grateful for today because he’d just found a job. He’d been incarcerated and people don’t want to hire someone with a past criminal record. They don’t really care about the circumstances that got you there. They don’t want to take the risk. It had been hard on him, and made it difficult for him to trust God.
As we talked, he admitted that he was afraid of dying. When I pressed him a little, he told me it wasn’t the dying so much that scared him. It was his failure to fulfill his potential and leave behind a legacy worth remembering. I could empathize. I know that there was a time in my life when I was afraid of this same exact thing.
Turning Past Mistakes Into Powerful Missions
I told him what I’d learned along the way was that there was nothing in our past that could hurt us if we could just learn to take it and make something good out of it. Our failures are opportunities to pass on lessons that will help the next generation succeed. The wounds we carry are opportunities to encourage those who are facing that same pain to believe there is hope for their future. Nothing in our lives needs to go to waste if we’ll only have the courage to share it with others.
He told me I had an anointing on me, and was meant to help others. He encouraged me to make sure I didn’t stop the work I was doing, but look for ways to do it in a way that would impact more people and help more people. I assured him I would.
My Mission, My Purpose
I came to a powerful conclusion at the end of last year. That conclusion was that I’d been playing small for far too long, too willing to hide in the shadows and allow my stories to go untold and my talents unrecognized because I was afraid. I was afraid I wasn’t good enough. I was afraid people would judge the person I’d been and reject the person I am. But letting fear hold me back means other people can’t benefit from my journey.
I know that I was put on this earth to help people get their stories out of their heads and onto the page so that those stories can make a difference, change the world, and impact the next generation. Harry S. Truman once said that not all readers are leaders, but that all leaders are readers. I know that’s true, but what it also means is that being a writer is a position of leadership. You are leading the leaders. The stories you tell and the way you tell them will influence the hearts and the minds of generations to come.
It’s my job to help those who have a call to leadership answer that call. It’s my job to help people who feel they have no voice find it and use it. It’s my job to be the pen that records the lives of humanity, so that we can bridge the gaps in understanding between us and forge a world where all are heard and all are valued, from the greatest to the least.
What’s Your Story?
Let me just encourage you to speak up, and share. Even if it takes you 100 words at a time to get that story out of you, don’t waste the opportunity. Make yourself heard. Speak up. You have valuable lessons to share – and you’re the only one who can share those specific lessons. Nobody else can because they don’t have your unique perspective to offer.