I’m very excited to again this week join a talented group of women who, week after week, join in an online, unedited flash mob free write based on a word-prompt given to us by our fearless leader Kate Motaung. My timer is set for 5 minutes; let’s see where the word “purpose” takes me.

How fortuitous (yes, I paused my timer to check the spelling) Kate’s word choice for this week is.

For awhile now, I’ve been battling lethargy and even a feeling of “what does it all matter” as I’ve struggled more than ever with living alone. Just a few days before the flu visited my house for a nasty two weeks, the word “purpose” popped into my head during my morning quiet time (devotion, prayer, and journaling).

It was one of those light-bulb moments. I realized that I feel no sense of purpose. Or at least, no sense of purpose that I care about or feel passionate about. 

For most of my adult life — 25+ years — I felt a strong sense of purpose as a mother and wife. I haven’t been a wife for almost 7 1/2 years, and in the last year or so, the youngest of my adult children made a very clear, defining step out into her own life. After living either with me or fairly close by for 26 or so years, she moved a distance away that precludes frequent visits, dinners out, etc. 

Over the last year, my adult son and daughter have needed me less, to the point that after years of frequent, sometimes daily contact, a week or more may go by before I get even a text from my son. 

I know that’s normal. But I’ve found it extremely difficult to deal with.

My purpose — the very one that brought me joy and fulfillment and energy — is gone.

Oh, I know I have other purposes — as a Christian, a teacher, etc.

But my career as a teacher, which consumed much of my time over the past 20+ years, has become less of a passion and more of a necessity. Less of a joy and more of a stressor. Less of a source of work I found to be of value and integrity and more of a source of frustration and a questioning of its honorableness (not all teaching, of course). 

I’ve been questioning who I am and what is my purpose, and I’m not finding any answers. 

That leaves me feeling empty and rudderless.

And so I search for a purpose for this new stage of my life.