The word hiatus caught my attention as I researched the importance of replenishing purpose. The dictionary offered: a break where part is missing or lost, gap or interruption as in continuity or time. A slight pause, recess, interim, respite, interlude, term, spell, period, cleft, crevice, crack, rift or ravine.
Purpose was defined: to intend, resolve, or plan. Something one intends to get or do, aim, resolution, determination. The object for which something exists or is done, with a specific end in view, not accidentally or by design. To good purpose with a good result of effect, advantageously, aiming at a specific goal or end, not meaningless, or deliberately.
Several months ago, we discussed that without purpose, people wither, become sad and lose personal confidence. What we did not discuss is what happens when purpose or purposes end due to a death of a loved one, ended employment, medical restrictions, transferred friends, a pet no longer around, a move, empty nest, ended school-year, discontinued groups, completion of a significant project, etc. The pandemic dislodged the satisfying purposes of nearly everyone I’ve talked to. Many seniors still hurt from being home bound away from family, classes ended for students and also affected the teachers, professors and the behind-the-scene workers.
For some people, when long-term purpose ends, they need encouragement in replenishing. ‘Restarting life’ is how I’ve heard several friends describe what needs to happen which sounds like realistic and reasonable goals. Hopefully, what I write about will resonate positively with those who are hungry to replace the joys and purposes that ended in the spring of March of 2020. Since these needs affect just about everyone at some time.
Speaking from personal experience, when Jim died after 65 wonderful years, many if not most of my purposes also came to a screeching halt since Jim was involved in everything I did except aquatics, and the pandemic caused the suspension of aquatics for a year. Reframing or replenishing that particular source of purpose was two-fold: to resume safe exercising for my arthritic back and reuniting with friends who I’d heard through the grapevine were wondering ‘if Ruth was ever going to return’. When my family was thoroughly convinced it was safe, I put aquatics back into my schedule.
Revamping purposes that have ended must take precedence whether you are twenty-six or ninety-six. If you find yourself stuck about beginning again, making the decision first, then telling someone about your intentions, will be a leg-up, as they say. That’s the same criteria for finding employment, finishing the basement, beginning a new craft, cleaning out closets, chopping the wood or writing a book—telling a friend who without a doubt will ask how it’s coming.
Yesterday, neighbor Mark walked right into this blog topic. A plastic bag containing 10 purple Allium bulbs on my kitchen table had been staring at me for a week. The weather was perfect for planting and I had set aside time for garden work, but the forecast of rain altered my plan. It was almost supper time and I wondered if I’d have enough time, but digging ten 5–8-inch holes was going to be physically more than I had better tackle, so I gave Mark a call. “Would you have time to dig ten holes in my garden?” “I’ll have time in about 30 minutes,” he said. I got the little shovel out and the rest of the supplies. He not only dug the holes, but stayed with me until the job was completed and markers placed. He also turned off outdoor water lines getting way ahead for any freeze. After he went home, I emailed him to tell him again how much I appreciated his help. He said, “I like to help people”. Mark’s helping me to enjoy my gardening purpose enabled him to enjoy his purpose of helping someone. A two-way street.
Many people depend on others to give them a boost to facilitate their purpose the way neighbor Mark assisted me with planting bulbs. Some people are hesitant to ask for help. Neighbor Mark often knocks at my door to find out how I’m doing and if I need help with anything. I am very thankful for Mark and
my local and out-of-state children appreciate him as well. My mom used to quote the old adage ‘those are rich who have true friends’. I would encourage ‘repair’ gurus and financial whizzes to check on some seniors who would welcome your advice and expertise.
To emphasize the wisdom of replenishing purposes, I am sharing an email sent to friends from a 96-year-old musician whose husband, also a musician, died 30 years ago.
"At the present I am not playing at the Jam but just teaching four people and writing songs or copying some, every week for two hour-lessons. Just wanted you to know what musicians have to do to give pleasure to people. Although, when I was able to be present, we were always delighted to see all of you coming to listen to us and to sing along. Musicians thrive with audiences and it’s especially encouraging to play before a full room. But few people realize all that’s involved to play or sing music. So now you got an education. Ha-ha.
Hopefully, her story will encourage you to replenish your purpose. When I called to ask permission to use what she had written, she said, “I’ve been playing since I was 12. Doing what I am doing is better than watching TV. It’s a good hobby and keeps my brain active.” She also told me that she is still driving to places nearby; never had a computer lesson but just kept asking questions in order to learn how. So don’t let age keep you from learning how to email and use the Internet. She’s a marvelous example to all.
When you lose interest, your stamina has dwindled, it ends for some reason, or you are physically restricted, check the following list and circle the ones that look feasible. You may hit on an idea for yourself or maybe one of your friends who has come to stand-still.
Sources of purpose: Built in childcare, employment, volunteering, laundry, cooking, cooking, yard, cooking, sewing, knitting, crocheting, extended family, auto needs, garage clean up, straightening closets, garages or sheds, small paint jobs, , organizing letters, pictures, reading, writing, painting, drawing, assembling kites or airplanes, woodworking, gluing, watching movies or sports, playing computer games, checkers, cards, dominos, aquatics, walking, golfing, bowling, swimming, crafts, candy-making, scrabble, birdwatching, gardening, yard care, pet care, listening to music, singing, playing an instrument, playing bells or chimes, biking, traveling, tutoring, visiting by phone, email or in person, etc. movie
The purpose of Listening is listed separately because it is so badly needed with very few physical or educational requirements except time and an ear. Listening is indeed a marvelous, beneficial and unselfish purpose in which all of us could excel in ministering to those who need to hear a familiar voice and desire good conversation. A client some time ago wanted no professional advice but just someone to listen to him. His family or friends wouldn’t give him the time of day. He lived on a third floor and was unable to navigate stairs without assistance. Listening was all that he requested. A common senior complaint is that their adult children prefer to talk about their job, friends, and what the children are doing but rarely are given an opening to share their opinions or activities. Speaking honestly with their children is often the simplest solution.
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:19. This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. Ps. 118:24