A GIFT NO ONE CAN GIVE ME -- by Jane Kelley

What gift do I want this holiday season? I can’t answer that question. I never can. I’m no help at all to those who draw my name in the family gift exchange. Unless maybe another pair of socks?

But I do know what I want that no one can give me.

A sense of purpose.

As Mark Twain said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

Why is that why so important? It's reassuring to know what direction we should take. It's even more reassuring to know that there is a direction. That what we do matters.

I didn’t find my purpose until I was in my 40s. I wasn’t exactly aimlessly wandering through those earlier decades. But I was spending a lot of time focusing on what other people wanted me to be. Or what I thought other people wanted me to be. I wasn't thinking about what I should do. What I did well. What would be a contribution to the world.

I wish I could say that the insight came to me in this firelight ceremony on the shores of Lake Michigan. Like a bolt from the heavens.


A sense of purpose cannot be bestowed. Many people would benefit from having one. I can't give it to them. They must find it for themselves. As I did. Eventually I realized I had stories to tell about persistence and kindness and feeling connected to the web of life. More importantly I decided to tell those stories to someone––instead of for myself.

So if I have a purpose, why would I like this gift?

Well, sadly, life takes a toll. Purpose isn’t a shield. I'm not immune to doubts, to despair, to dismay. They creep inside and bruise my inner core. So yes please, I would very much like to get my purpose replenished.

Hey – just writing this blog reminded me of what I need and what I have! Thanks!

That is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. -Willa Cather


Jane Kelley is inspired by long walks on the shore of Lake Michigan -- and the opportunity to keep writing humorous adventures for kids.


  1. That's SUCH a great Twain quote. And that is SO true about purpose. Merry Christmas!

  2. What a great way to start the day! Reading your blog...moved me a step ahead in my purpose journey! Xox


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