Friday, August 01, 2008
Evening Edition - 8/1/08
Okay Lord…What Is It?
As the story goes, I was about six months old when my mom visited some friends, one of whom was an avid Christian evangelist. At sometime during the visit the evangelist stopped in mid-sentence, pointed at me as I lay in my carrier and said to my parents, “I know this is going to sound a little crazy, but the Lord has asked me to tell you that your son has a great purpose and the Lord will use him in a spectacular way.” At the time my parents were not church-going folks and my mom, who was a bit of a rebel rouser, simply shrugged it off as kind words about her first baby boy. By the age of eight-or-so my parents were fervent Christians and strong believers in God and I recall the story being retold to me in one of those snack-time-hair-raising after service talks. Fast forward seven more years and I was the most rebellious of the Cruz clan and found myself on the hard streets of NYC doing things that I’m sure were as far away from the purpose that was foretold. My teenage years were ripped from the pages of some high-grossing summer blockbuster script, but through it all I recall never suffering a calamity that took me too far from the values my parents instilled in me. My twenties saw me regain my footing in life and an ambition that allowed me to be a homeowner in my early twenties and a man who was grounded, but still knew how to have a great time. It was shortly after my third decade began that some of my slick choices came home to roost. It turns out that karma and the laws of life’s reciprocations would show me that material things, deceptive practices and living dangerously can sometimes have you start, as Brian McKnight once put it, “Back at one.” During my parent’s stay in NYC last month, I took them to visit an old friend of theirs – a first lady of one of the first churches they attended decades ago. My parents – now the Reverend and first lady of their own congregation – sat and talked to the woman for over an hour. I looked at the old woman and drifted to another time. My memory of her was of a much more vital, strong, statuesque lady. She now sat feeble and slightly broken; reeling from the death of her husband just 18 months before. As the visit came to an end my parents hugged the former first lady and she turned to me and said, “Please feel free to visit with me whenever you’d like. I’m here if you need to talk.” Blessed with my mom’s social graces I turned to face her and she held both my hands in hers. Her face changed from pained-loss and lit-up to a warm smile. “I hope you haven’t forgotten what the Lord predicted for you,” she said. My confused look gave way to my asking her, “Excuse me, I didn’t understand what you said.” She then pulled me closer and without missing a beat said, “He told you that he had great plans for you when you were just a baby and you may think that he’s forgotten, but he hasn’t. The calling is still there and no matter what you do and where you go, your purpose awaits you.” Any summer sun that had once decorated my face drained away before she returned to her normal demure voice and sullen expression, “The Lord has spoken to you. Please take him seriously.” Without knowing what to say next I gave her a big hug and said, “Thank you. I won’t forget.” Strangely, she responded, “Yes, please come and see me anytime.” As my parents and I reached my car, my heart was racing, but I didn’t know what to say first. As I pulled out of the parking space, I looked at my mom and asked her, “Remember that evangelist who said I was destined for greatness,” I smiled. My mom looked at me quizzically and said, “Yeah, why do you ask?” I stammered on, “Did you ever tell the good sister about that conversation. My mom smiled and said, “No. As a matter of fact that seems like so long ago that I almost didn’t remember it myself.” My throat went dry and I stared from my rear-view mirror to the streets around me. “Are you okay,” my mom curiously asked. I replayed the words I heard moments ago in my head again, but simply said, “Yes. Just a little nostalgic from seeing the sister tonight. I was just wondering if you still told that childhood story.” As I dropped off my folks at my house and parked my car I sat for a moment and my eyes welled-up. The neighborhood now blurred by the tears that held in place and refused to give way and stream down my cheeks, I looked up and said, “Lord, I don’t know what it is, but I sure hope you would reveal it to me already.” So as I reach the last year of my 30s in the next couple of days, this is my birthday wish…that I know my purpose while I still have the vitality to execute it.
Not everyone knows their purpose in life; some don’t even believe that everyone has one. My heart tells me that everyone has a purpose; their reason for living.
Do you know what your great purpose in life is?
Keep passin’ the open windows…