Appointments in Life

>     Yesterday I was the guest speaker at a local high school, speaking for 6 straight hours to over 500 students in the 10th grade. My daughter happens to be a Freshman at the same school so it made the occasion a little tricky. I was a guest speaker in the Health Department teaching a unit about suicide. I had tried to kill myself at age 24 and have first-hand knowledge and experience on the topic. It was an opportunity the Health teachers didn’t want to pass up…and quite frankly, neither did I.
    While I have spoken privately on the topic over the past few decades, I had never before spoken about it publicly. Having discussed it several years before with our daughter, she was remarkably accepting of my presence at her school and even supportive of it. I take more than a little pride in this fact.
    One of the things I shared with the students, and I shared only what I know to be true from having lived it, is that we all have what I refer to as “appointments in Life” at which we are expected to “show up.” Those appointments are uniquely ours, as are our talents and challenges as well. While it is not always for us to know, in advance or even ever, why we need to be in certain places at certain times, the purpose of our presence in those moments is in support of the overall and ever-expanding consciousness and growth of humanity.
    Heady stuff, I know. But it’s how I see things none-the-less.
    I have spent all the years since the attempted suicide exploring many different roads in search of Who I Really Am. Each road was a choice I made to have the experience I had. Some of those choices were productive and some not so much…but all were my choices made in pursuit of what is true for me. And while I try to find the positive meaning and highest good in all that happens, even I have had my share of wondering if all the adversity and struggle that is a necessary part of Life can be worth it.
    At yesterday’s appointment I finally got my answer.
    As I looked into the faces of those children who were looking back at me with rapt attention, I knew with certainty that everything that had happened in my life happened so that I could be there at that moment and share with them the magnificence of transcending Life’s challenges.
    I have always wanted to “serve” in some capacity and oftentimes have prayed for a way to help me do that. Typically I have expected to find a particular cause or organization to which I might dedicate my time. But standing there yesterday I realized how many ways there are to serve and just what mine looks like.
    My service is one of Hope.
    By opening up to those children and honestly sharing with them both the triumphs and tragedies of my life’s path, and mirroring for them the Beauty and Love inherent in their own, I was able to “pay forward” the gift of hope I was given when I most needed it. For in the end, we are each “way-show-ers” for one another, not only by how we live our lives but also how we choose to reflect the lives of others. Having been both affirmed and denied at various times in my own life, I know well the power, and responsibility, of both thoughts and words.
    There was no financial compensation for my appearance yesterday. But if you could have looked into that sea of faces, as I did, you would feel today as I do.
    Yesterday, I hit the Lottery of Life.

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