Yesterday as I was driving in my car, a Prince song came on the radio…Raspberry Beret. I found myself singing along only to realize that Prince won’t ever sing this song again and for a moment I was quite sad to think about it that way. I turned the music down and stopped singing. When I finally pulled into my driveway the song had ended but, I was still thinking about Prince and how strange it was that he died and how he’ll never create music again and how quickly our lives come to an end and how once they do, we can no longer leave our mark on the world.
This got me thinking about my life in general and I started asking myself if what I’ve done in this life is enough. Am I fulfilling my purpose? Have I been doing what I am supposed to do? Do I like my life? Am I happy? And so on…Each of these questions could be their very own blog post and maybe someday they will be but today, I am giving them serious thought because I do know that I want to leave the world a better place than I found it. I used to be sure I was doing that when I was working. I was a hospice administrator so in a way, it was easy to think that I was making a positive difference.
Then I got sick. Sarcoidosis has completely changed my life. I no longer work and work once defined me. It’s been a challenge to find myself again. Being a homemaker and housewife are not things I ever thought I’d be. I was career driven and I was good at it but life had other plans for me and I’ve had to learn to accept this difficult reality. I have had to learn to redefine my worth which is no easy task when you have an unpredictable, naggingly chronic, overwhelming exhausting, constantly painful yet invisible medical condition.
The other day my husband said that I run the house. He seemed grateful for it and at ease with letting me do this. I think he understands that I need something to do, that I have to take pride in something, that the way I have taken on managing the house, is where I get some of my worth now. It’s always clean, groceries are always in the frig, meals are creative and tasty, the laundry is always done, the bills are always paid, the dogs are cared for and everything is in its proper place. Our lives do have an order that they didn’t when I was working a million hours a week. I’m proud of my efforts in the home. I do think they make my husband’s life easier. This gives me a small sense of purpose and hopefully makes a positive difference. I know the dogs love having me around anyway.
I always thought fulfilling my purpose meant that I had to do great things but having sarcoidosis is teaching me that fulfilling my purpose, can mean many things and one of them is learning to live with my disease and all it takes from me with as much dignity and grace as I can and to keep trying to live as well as I can. Oddly, having sarcoidosis has changed my perspective enough to make me realize that I wasn’t all that happy pushing so hard in my career. Being driven is stressful! I think I am more content now than I have ever been even with the daily struggles of my sarcoidosis.
Life does go by in an instant. We aren’t all meant to leave music in the world like Prince did but, if we can make even small positive differences in the lives of the people we love, if we learn to let our best selves shine through in difficult times, if we learn to redefine what matters when life changes so unexpectedly, if we practice acceptance and live with a grateful heart no matter what, then I think that’s leaving a legacy worth being proud of.