Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What in the World Were You Born to Do?

Photo by T.L. Gray – Flying over Washington ©2013
Partial Lyrics posted by artist Hugo - Born 

My son introduced me to a new artist yesterday, Hugo. I came across one of his songs, Born, and I can’t get it out of my heart or my mind.  It’s got a catchy tune, a great beat, and a beautiful message.  It starts out, “What in the world were you born to do? Beat me and tease me, I’ll take the abuse, ‘cause I know that I was born to love you.”  For me… this song is a glaring confession of what I feel I was born to do – I was born to write and help others do the same.

“You’re so electric and I’m on fire. These roads I take all lead to you. Can’t find the exit, just let me through.”  I didn’t come to this life-path revelation early in my life. For many years I begged, sought, prayed, tried my hand in many different areas (which now all help in fulfilling my purpose), and cried many nights desperate for just a hint or glimpse so I could step into my purpose, with purpose.  No one understood me. The things I wanted didn’t seem to be accepted or supported by anyone else.  I kept being pushed into the direction of the practical (business, office, corporate, career) or ministerial.  Though I was good in these areas, my heart yearned for the artistic. I kept trying to find the thing my inner child approved.   

The other side I found frustrating was watching passionate people uprooting their practical lives to chase what they felt was their ‘calling’, but it seemed to only pertain to political or religious contexts. No one thought twice about a man uprooting his family and asking that family to sacrifice their practical way of living for him to fulfill his mandate and mission called by God, or what he felt was a political aspiration to help ‘the people’. Can you imagine the reaction, even from such people, when it came to the idea of asking the same sacrifice to chase the dream of being a writer?

I worked for many years helping the homeless, hungry, elderly and sick, and even the occasional political rally …these are all ‘noble’ causes, but my heart always yearned to touch people in actions that helped me most as an abused child. My only friends during my turbulent childhood were my books; escaping into beautifully woven stories.  Those stories gave me courage, comfort and companionship until I became strong enough and old enough to escape that life.  If there is ONE thing in this world I desire most… it is being able to provide that same thing for someone else, either with my own stories, or with beautiful works by others. 

I couldn’t, nor wouldn’t, listen to words from people – people hurt me and I built tall and strong walls to keep me separated from them.  If someone tried to touch me or even talk to me, I fought or shut down.  People were liars and I didn’t trust them, but my heart and my mind was open to books and stories… and it was through those stories I found the courage to face my life.  I know there are many others out there who are the same.  It is for THEM I write and hope to one day encourage, inspire and reach.  I can only do that by writing and helping other writers get those stories out there, even if I never personally see or meet anyone we’ve touched. “It feels like home in your eyes.  Then we’ll stay alone until we try.”

Why then is that not a good-enough call for the world?  You know what -   I don’t care if it is good enough for them, it’s good enough for me ‘cause I know that is what in the world I was born to do. “The price that I pay ‘cause I don’t see the truth.  As long as you’re gone, you’re all I had to lose.”

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

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