What about meaning?

We are not failures in life if we have chosen a primary job with which we are not “in love.”  Yet, there is always the opportunity for anyone to enrich their lives in smaller ways.  Exercising your passion can live within an avocation, as well as a hobby,  thus incorporating financial realities.   The notion of feeling fulfilled by even a portion of the activities in our lives,  allows us satisfaction on many fronts, and satisfies our needs for meaning and purpose.

What always catches my attention are the stories of people who have opened themselves enough to allow purpose and meaning to find them.  Perhaps they resonate with a strong need in their community, and just raise their hand to do something about it.   They decide that it makes sense for their family, and their values to “give back.”  Along the way, they discover that they are good at this “new service” they have just created and that the new purpose nourishes them.   A true combination of calling and contribution.

Birthdaywishes.org is an example of one of those stories. Founded in 2002 in the Boston area by a woman who was seeking to involve her children in the practice of  giving to others, the organization started by providing a party, with cake, candles, and presents, for all the birthday children in one homeless shelter  each month.  It has since expanded to 3 neighboring states, 185 shelters or transitional living situations,  and spawned similar non-profits across the nation. It’s based on the premise that every child has a birthday and every child deserves to have it celebrated, regardless of the ability of the family to provide.

My heart warms when I think of the gifts being given to the children and families in difficulty.   Equally important are the “gifts” that accrue to the multitude of volunteers that are ostensibly doing the “giving.”  Sounds like a big win-win to me.

Look around!  What needs are calling for a contribution of your gifts and skills?