I’ve always been a huge Oprah fan, and I’m channeling her for this column. One of my favorite Oprah’s quotes is, “I believe every one of us is born with a purpose. No matter who you are, what you do, or how far you think you have to go, you have been tapped by a force greater than yourself to step into your God-given calling.”
Are we spending our time in a way that honors the truth of Oprah’s quote? It’s a question that many of us struggle with early in our lives when we’re choosing a career, again during points of mid-life crises when we reevaluate, and finally when we reach retirement age.
We need to pay attention to what “lights us up.” My earliest memory, at the age of three or four, was the joyful realization that if I put certain letters together, they formed words. Words that could tell stories! That excitement continued through my teens, teaching career, and beyond. It still continues today.
Early in Oprah’s career, when she was on her way to discovering her life’s purpose, she also discovered her best friend, Gayle King. Oprah and Gayle clicked and continue to share common interests. Similarly, in my pursuit of my writing passion, I discovered my BFF forty-some years ago, author Gayle Rosengren. She agreed to an interview which will give us tips for finding our own life’s purpose.
“So, Gayle,” I began, “was there one distinct moment when you knew writing was your life’s purpose?”
I knew writing for children was what I wanted to do from the time I was 9 years old. That’s when I discovered how a good book could whisk me off to worlds totally unlike my own, where new friends awaited and new adventures abounded!
“Your third novel, MacKenzie’s Last Run, releases the first day of September. Tell us about it.”
It’s truly the book of my heart. It evolved over many years and as a result of many of my most challenging life experiences. All of my books are rooted in family and the fragile yet powerful bonds of love that bind family members together. In Mackenzie’s Last Run the bonds have been strained to their limits as a result of the great loss the family experienced nearly two years before the story begins—the sudden death of Dad in a mass shooting.
It’s an exciting survival novel but also a lens through which readers can view mental health and the ravages of mass shootings on the loved ones who are left behind. If this book inspires even one young person to ask for help out of a downward spiral of grief after loss, my work will have been worth it.
The passion Gayle feels for her work is evident in her words, and she’s given us tips to find our own purpose. Gayle has explored her passions, set goals, turned her personal pain into purpose, and now wants to share with her community.
So, dear readers, pay attention to what feeds your energy. Your instincts will let you know when you’re on the right path. “You have the power to discover your purpose and live your greatest truth,” Oprah says. “It doesn't matter how many yellow brick roads you encounter—it has always been right there, at home, in your heart.”
I’m grateful to the luminaries of the world like Oprah and Gayle Rosengren, http://www.gaylerosengren.com/, who are pursuing lives full of purpose, and lighting up the world.