Have you ever wondered what our purpose here on Earth is? We were created, raised by a family who did everything in their power to raise us to be the best individuals we could possibly be. We were and still are continually surrounded by ones who truly care for us, but do those happenings bring ourselves to really understand our purpose? Does it answer the question, “Why am I here?”
This has been on my mind lately- what is my purpose? Yes, I am a first year medical student, I am a daughter, friend, aunt, sister, grandchild, and importantly- I am Avalon. Do being all of those things shine light for my sole purpose of existing in the world? After thinking about this over and over again, I have found an answer. For myself at least- I would like to share with others who once were or are in question of their existence.
About a year ago, I had met a gentleman who was in his mid-thirties. I sat down next to him, and took the very first sip of my coffee. When I looked over, I was greeted with a beautiful smile. He introduced himself to me. I was taken aback, but I had introduced myself to him as well. Within two minutes after exchanging names, he had instantly opened up to me.
This man had spoken these few words to me that enlightened all of my questions about my purpose in the world. He looked over to me and said, “I am alone. I am drinking this cappucino with my unemployment check- I come to this cafe every morning because it makes me feel less lonely. It is something about watching people that makes me feel…..connected, less alone.”
My heart hurt. It hurt when I was driving home from the cafe. It hurt when I had thought about this man weeks later, standing in line at the at the grocery store, I would think about him. Driving to class, I would think of him. I found that I was always wondering about his well-being. And as for right now, I am still hurting for him. As I am sitting in a bookstore, watching mothers read to their children, couples sharing a custard with each other, and employees exchanging laughs with one another- everyone is in company. They are all connecting in some way or another. But, for the man that had expressed his absolute loneliness to me a year ago- I am thinking about him. Right now, in this moment. Is he lonely? Or has he found company? Support? Unconditional love?
When I looked into this man’s eyes, I saw hurt. From stranger to stranger, I wanted his hurt to dissipate. Unfortunately, we can only comfort those in need of comforting, but we cannot solely remove hurt from others. If we could, the world would be less messy and more beautiful.
I not only saw hurt in his eyes, but I saw pain in his face. If anything was the root cause of providing him brief comfort, emotional support, and a reminder that he is not alone, it was the working of my heart- my organ was doing its job. It was sharing love to a man I had not knew- I only that he was a good person who had fallen into unfortunate circumstances.
This man had nothing. He had said that his job could not afford him anymore. His wife and kids left back to Spain to receive financial support from her side of the family. His rent was three months past due, and his friends no longer wanted to be burdened with his circumstances anymore. I stopped drinking my coffee because with each sip, I felt a sense of guilt. I was drinking a cup of coffee that I paid with a credit card. For this man, he bought his with spare change. I felt guilty- but not helpless. I helped this man as much as I possibly could. There is definitely a power of spoken words.
I could tell this man was a good person. By the way he gently spoke. Throughout our hour conversation, he did not ask me for anything- not even words of kindness. However, I gave him everything I could at that time. And as for today- I feel as if it was not enough. Maybe to him it was, but if I could of given this man more, I definitely would have.
I was thinking in between our moments of silence, “speak from your heart, Avalon.” And I had done so. I am ready to share with the world the response I had given this man on June 5th of 2014.
“I really do believe we met today for many reasons. Reasons that I would like to share with you. First, in the past twenty-five minutes, I have seen you enjoy all of the simple pleasures that have come your way since you have sat down. You had mentioned the appreciation of the coffee you had bought with your last change. You had pointed over to the father with his son on his shoulders and you had said, ‘I find that breathtaking- a father using a shoulder ride as a reminder to his son, that can reach past the sky. And…I am sure, he will always remind his son of those possibilities.’ I had then said, ‘I see hurt, anger, sadness, despair, grief in your eyes, but most importantly, I see hope. I can also feel it.’ He then smiled.
A year later, I still question our purpose here on Earth. However, maybe our purpose is a daily discovery. Each and everyday that you chose to live with purpose, meaning, and with true passion- is what you are here to do. If it is to comfort a stranger at a cafe, or to use your hands to touch the shoulder of the elderly, or if it is to use your fingers to tickle the piano to teach your daughter how to play the piano- what ever it is, your purpose here on Earth cannot be defined by just one answer. Everyday will be a sum to your overall purpose. As we age, we will look back and remind ourselves of all we have done, for ourselves and for others- and you might just find your answer.
Before I had left that cafe a year ago, I had went inside and I paid for his cups of coffee for the next five days. I walked back outside and I told him, “You are loved. You deserve happiness. And I am so amazed to see that you already have found it in yourself. However, keep providing yourself the things you so very need. Keep being fascinated by the world. We need more people like you- who truly value life’s simple pleasures . I will see you tomorrow morning at eight o’clock for a cup of coffee. Please, do not bring any change.”
I went the next morning to visit him. He had his paid cup of coffee in his hand. When I walked up to him, he ran up to me- he hugged me. His body felt warm. His arms wrapped around my back. He did not want to let go. I understand why- he felt disconnected with the world.
We both sat at the same table and sipped on our coffee. We shared stories, we laughed, we questioned the world together, we were connected. After we departed, I never saw him again.
I still think about him often. I hope he went to Spain to remind his two sons that life is cruel but also there is goodness lingering in the air. I hope he found someone to share a cup of coffee with him in the morning. I hope his pain has dissipated. I hope he is well.
I know that those two days will be looked back years from now. Because small encounters and brief moments pass too soon, but they also lead us to our ultimate question, “What is my purpose here on Earth?”
Show tenderness. Show compassion. Show kindness. Always.