My breath was shortened and the two hairy pillars of reliability I’ve come to depend upon were starting to protest the choices of the day. Glancing down at my wrist, twenty-eight thousand steps stared back at me. Why did I think helping our kids clean their rooms was a good idea? The light of day had not touched their floors in months. I’m convinced, unnoticed a family of tiny animals could have taken up residence among the layers of clothes, toys, trash, hair scrunchies, abandoned art projects, empty boxes, cardboard paper towel holders, pencils, pens, markers, Pokemon cards, mass graves of stuffed animals and beads. I spent the majority of six hours moving bags of trash from their rooms to the curb.
This is my life now. I move things. Usually, this is a cyclical pattern. Madness at best and what I suppose I signed up for. My family is comprised of collectors and they are fantastic at their craft.
It’s not uncommon for me to tally up thousands of steps on my fitness tracker on a normal day. Progress for a middle-aged man living the family life can easily be measured by steps. To believe distance traveled or destinations sought have anything to do with success would not be completely short-sided. We are all headed somewhere, even if standing completely still.
My feet have carried me far but when I look back, it’s the items picked up and carried with me into new moments that tell the story. The ring I moved from the store to her hand. The never forgotten positive pregnancy test moved from her hand to the grief-filled box in the closet. The endless loads of laundry to be outgrown moved from the washer to the dryer. The adoption certificate moved from the courthouse to the safe. The bags of broken toys moved from the floor to the trash.
I remember when questions concerning purpose centered around distance and destination. Where will I go in life?
I’m beginning to realize purpose fulfilled is measured by the things we have moved, rather than where or to what lengths we have traveled.