There are many things I love about my job here at The Windham Eagle. What I enjoy changes from time to time, depending upon when you talk to me. But today, my favorite part is the interesting, fun and amazing people I get to meet.
Having only lived in the area for just five years, almost everyone I interview, I encounter for the firsttime. I like meeting new people because I enjoy discovering how they have successfully maneuvered in this crazy and chaotic world. By success, I’m referring to how one has experienced the extreme ups and downs of life and are able to keep smiling and moving forward. Because - we all know that it isn’t always easy.
In my attempt to learn about them, I always discover something about myself.
This week, I got to meet former Windham Town Clerk, Rita Bernier (be sure to check out her story on the front page). Rita is one of those individuals who finds a purpose in everything she does. Yes, she was a successful town clerk but just importantly she was a successful mother, wife and bus driver prior to that. In the front-page article, you’ll learn that she loved those children on her bus route as if they were her own children. She knew her purpose and she acted on it without hesitation. Then, when she became the town clerk, her devoted nature shifted. And, it shifts again when she teaches rug making.
You see, as a society, we tend make careers our purpose in life, including yours truly. During my 20s and 30s, I spent my time trying to “find myself” and my purpose for living. I believed there was one particular thing I was meant to do, and I was going to find it. Over and over, determined to capture it, I’d accept a position, hoping that it would be THE one, but would always come up disappointed, feeling as if I somehow failed yet again.
Somewhere along the way, my perception shifted, and I stopped worrying so much about it. I’m still not certain how it all transpired, but upon meeting Rita I realized that it isn’t necessarily a particular occupation that fulfills a life’s purpose but it’s what you do with what lands in your lap.
When I was 14, I worked at my neighbor’s farm gathering eggs and doing other chores. I learned that lamb’s quarter, a weed that grows profusely in Kansas, was a favorite food of chickens. In fact, they’d run toward me as soon as I walked inside their fence with a handful of it. It was such a simple thing, but there was a sense of accomplishment, laughter, joy – and yes, oddly purpose.
Rita reminded me that purpose comes in many forms and can be obtained in just about anything you do. Actor Michael J. Fox has been quoted as saying, “I believe purpose is something for which one is responsible; it’s not just divinely assigned.”
And speaking of purpose, if you are tip toeing on the edge of insignificance, I hope these 520 words help you find some value in the small things. If so, then I’ve done my job for today. Tomorrow? Who knows.