I'm sure we've all, at least once since the invention of electronic mail, received the email that talks about how people come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Right? I mean, I can't be the only one who's seen that one. And as annoying as it may be sometimes to get that email repeatedly, I really am one of those people that believe there is a purpose for each of us in someone's lives.
I have a friend who is a home-care provider for an elderly disabled gentleman. For the last several days, I've been helping her out so that she was able to go away for a few days with her family on a well-deserved camping trip. Pretty low-key work, just taking care of his meals and bathing, mostly. Really, not much different than a toddler, just on a larger scale. And on the surface, sure, the similarities are all there. But it's the differences that have made such an impact on me.
With a toddler, you're shaping the future. With this gentleman, I get to experience a living piece of history. He was born and raised a devout Catholic in Germany, at a time when to revere anyone other than Hitler, even Jesus, was risking being sent to a concentration camp. The stories this man can tell are absolutely amazing, and I have spent several hours just listening to him. He fascinates me.
A toddler will believe anything you tell them, and they have no concept of faith or religion unless they are parroting something their parents have said. This man, though, humbles me with the depth of his faith and belief in the Lord. Listening to him sing along with the familiar hymns and chants, and pray along with the congregation, as he watched Mass this morning on TV was incredibly moving. We were having a conversation the other day (ok, really? He was talking and I was avidly listening), and he was telling me how a priest he knew when he was a child had explained Heaven and Hell to him and his classmates.
Have you ever felt homesick? The kind of homesick that can overwhelm you with sadness? That is how your soul feels when it is separated from it's eternal home in Heaven with it's Heavenly Father. While your soul resides in your body, even though it is homesick, it has something to do. A purpose. But after you die, your soul wants to go home. If it is not allowed to do so, it is consumed by an overwhelming homesickness. It keeps your soul in such misery. This? Is Hell.
This conversation, and that analogy, have been on my mind every day since then. I believe there are many levels, or layers, to our purpose on Earth. I think a part of this man's purpose was to help me realize some truths about myself. And I can feel it, and know that now I can put a name to this restlessness I feel sometimes. My soul is homesick, but I have not yet realized my full purpose here.
So today, which isn't any special day on any religious calendar; nor is it any sort of odd recognition day that many calendars have spawned; today? I just want to let each of you know how grateful I am that you continually play a part in keeping the homesickness from invading my soul, and for being part of my purpose.