For a black girl born in a remote farm in rural Mississippi, career prospects were limited to being a cook, a maid, or a teacher at a segregated school. But such circumstances did not stop this spirited young woman from finding the true purpose of her life. She was advised by her grandmother to get the hang of household chores, as she would have to do it herself someday. Of course, she followed her grandmother’s instructions diligently. But a small voice inside her always said, ‘This will not be your life. Your life will be more than just about hanging clothes on a line.’
As we know today, this is the story of celebrated talk show host, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey. Even as a young girl belonging to a marginalised community, she knew she was meant to be great. She did not know exactly what she wanted to be, but she was certain about what she didn’t want to be. “I believe there’s a calling for all of us. I know that every human being has value and purpose. The real work of our lives is to become aware. And awakened. To answer the call,” Oprah writes on her website.
Fortunate are those who find their purpose early on in life. But not all of us are so lucky. After all, finding our life purpose is not a time-bound task. Life is an ever-changing journey, and we could be discovering new things with every step. But finding that true calling offers a sense of clarity. It illuminates the path we ought to tread on. American writer Mark Twain sums this thought well in his quote: “The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.”
When we’ve found our purpose, life becomes a journey towards that destination.