This morning, I was thinking about what my purpose in life is. Even as a medical student, it’s possible to have some days where you wake up and wonder what the point of your existence is. Those kinds of days do happen, although they don’t always make sense. We don’t often talk about them. Perhaps part of it is that we shy away from the seemingly illogical nature of such feelings; after all, we are med students in training to save lives. Our destiny is to help heal, comfort, and make a difference in the world–if that isn’t enough to give one a sense of purpose, what is?
I was brushing my teeth as I thought this over.
Rather than try to logic my way through to a resolution, I began to think about how I’d feel without the people who are most important to me–how empty my soul would be without them in my life. Each person who means something to me would leave a void in their absence, which means that they are actively filling that void by their mere existence.
That’s when I realized, at some deep level, our purpose is to stop up the holes in the universe. We aren’t always conscious of these holes in the fabric of human existence, but we know they’re there when we’re missing someone. We feel them in the middle of the night when we remember a lost love or in the airport when we say goodbye. We glimpse them as we drive past crosses standing sentinel beside a freeway, or in hospital waiting rooms, or in poetry drawn from the depths of the soul.
So I just wanted to share this. If you ever wonder what your purpose is, remember that you help to hold the universe together. You are the only one who can close the gap. Each of us has a hole to fill, and each of our lives have been uniquely cut and shaped by our experiences to fill the void in another’s soul.
Just think of something that is meaningful to you and imagine how you’d feel without it. Maybe it’s hard to imagine a person–perhaps it is a pet or a beautiful wild place where the pines grow tall or something that makes you smile even on days when your smile feels worn out. Perhaps it’s a favorite song. Whatever it is, try imagining the void without it. Then feel for a moment how its presence fills that void.
Whether you realize it or not, your presence also fills an empty place. This doesn’t have to do with your job or what you do for others or how beautiful or strong you are. It doesn’t have anything to do with your intelligence, grades, title, or degree. It has to do with who you are–your favorite color and the way your hand feels when someone holds it and the way your eyes shine when you watch the sunset.
Your life fills a hole in the universe, and it keeps the void from spilling through.