Hello and welcome to my leap of faith! I am truly honored and blessed that you are here. When I began to consider doing a blog, I thought, “I don’t have time for that!” Then I thought, “No one will want to visit a page I put together.” Then I figured, “It’s too much trouble.” I had spent a couple of years paying for a domain for which I never built the website. I had intended to create a place where I could share with people openly about life and perspective. I intended to create a place where I could share my creative outlets with others. I had great intentions but, as with most things in life, our intentions don’t always turn into actions. Maybe its laziness, maybe its fear or maybe it was a little bit of both that kept me from making the leap into the virtual world, a leap I just wasn’t willing to make until now.
This past summer I finally cancelled my domain and gave up on doing anything at all. Then I got hit with an unexpected surgery which took me off work for eight weeks and provided some much needed time to rest and reflect on the many aspects of my life and my journey. It seems to be that we don’t take time to be still and reflect until we are forced to do so. These places often present themselves as times of difficulty and more often than not we spend all our energy trying to find ways out of these times instead of taking a breath, sitting back and listening to that still small voice within. As a result, we lose great opportunities to gain clarity on our life’s journey and the reason we are here. We lose the chance to gain a better vision of our passions or to recognize the signs pointing us down the path we are meant to walk.
There have been things in the course of my life I have felt compelled to do. They haven’t been grand acts or gestures but I have usually respected the conviction and acted on it, no matter how small. It might be encouraging someone. It might be expressing to the people in my life just how much they mean to me and how much they are loved. It might be helping the homeless man on the corner. It might be writing a song that no one hears for years or writing something no one will ever read. But when I look back over my life, all the things I’ve been compelled to do have generated from what I feel “called” to do.
Knowing your purpose in life is easier than knowing HOW to live out that purpose. The vision is easy; the execution can be challenging and utterly confusing! I believe God has a purpose for each and every one of us and He wants it to be clear to us even more than we want it for ourselves. The problem usually lies in the gap between our vision and His. We want meaning and passion in our lives but only if it doesn’t cost us anything. I don’t mean a financial cost (though that might happen at times) but a cost in time, energy or even relationships. Following where we are led is not always a popular path. Sometimes the risks in doing so seem far too great. The fear of losing something, or even simply disrupting the status quo in our lives, is so powerful that we succumb to it and settle for so much less than what we are intended to be instead of leaping into the unknown and becoming who we really are!
So today, I am throwing off the chains of fear and apprehension and making a leap of faith into the unknown. God has not brought me this far to let me down!
One of my favorite poems is “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. Once we start on a path, we never know where it will lead us or how many lives we will have touched, either knowingly or unknowingly. Your blog has touched me with reasons you could not have imagined. I want to start a blog, and since you have started one, I am seeking your guidance on how to do it.
The reason for my blog is represented below under, “My Last Journey”. Any help you (or anyone else) can provide will be greatly appreciated. So here goes….
“My Last Journey”
The story of a man’s search for his daughter’s birth mother
“The greatest danger for most of us is not that we aim to high and miss it, but that we aim to low and reach it” so stated Michelangelo. This has been for me, very foolishly, how I have lived my life. I say very foolishly because it truly has prevented me for fully enjoying any successes I have achieved, because I am always looking for the next mountain to climb, the next obstacle to overcome.
I have always set goals for myself and in trying to identify the genesis of this thinking it goes back to the time I had polio. This took place about 6 months before the Salk vaccine was developed and I was 11 years old. I recall the doctors telling my parents that I would never walk again. My goal was to play sports. Four years later I was playing high school football.
I was the first one in my family to attend college, and yet before I graduated high school, I set a goal of obtaining a Ph.D. It took me 36 years after graduating high school to achieve this goal, but I do have a stubborn persistence not to give up on things. There have been many goals that I did not achieve, but it was not for a lack of trying. My biggest disappointment to date was my failure to run a marathon. I set that as a goal just because it was something so improbable that I wanted to stretch myself as far as possible. I was training for the New York Marathon in 1986, but a bad injury just 5 weeks before the race set me back.
There is an expression I hear quite often in the business world – “go after the low hanging fruit”. This is an expression that is the antithesis of who I am and how I view the world. For me to go after the low hanging fruit is exactly what Michelangelo had in mind with his quote. Leaders do not go after the low hanging fruit – that is what makes them leaders. Lincoln did not go after the low hanging fruit when he worked tirelessly to save the union and pass the 13th Amendment. Did Einstein go after the low hanging fruit? Did Jefferson? Did Martin Luther King? Did Ghandi? No one of greatest ever made their existence by going after the low hanging fruit.
I would never mention my own name in the same sentence as those listed above, but I do try to emulate their thinking and way of life.
So what is “My Last Journey”? In 1998, I adopted a precious little girl from China. Ting Qin was found in a field and taken to an orphanage in China at the age of 13 months. On her shirt was pinned 100 Yuan (about $8), her name “Ting Qin” and her date of birth “October 3, 1995”. Ting Qin arrived in United States on August 7, 1998 and I renamed her “Shaila Dulcinea”.
Everything about Shaila has significance. I had worked with a Statistician by the name of Shaila Bhattachyeria, a most lovely person from India – and I just liked her name, Shaila (pronounced Shy La). I am a romantic at heart and one of my favorite plays in “The Man of La Mancha”. I love the words and music for “The Quest” and “Dream the Impossible Dream”. Both these songs remind me of Michelangelo’s quote. In the play is a most beautiful and precious character by the name of Dulcinea. I had originally wanted to have Dulcinea be my daughter’s first name, but I did not want to saddle her with that burden for her lifetime – so Shaila is equally beautiful and captures the true essence of my daughter.
The last goal I had before I start my next (and last adventure) was Shaila – she was my goal. When Shaila was in kindergarten she would have “show and tell” and people would talk about what their parents do for a living. My job is not easy to describe to a 5 year old, so when she asked me about my job I told her, “my job is to protect you and help you grow”. In fact that was my goal – my raison d’etre. It truly was my reason for existing. Throughout Shaila’s upbringing I was preparing her for life after high school, preparing her for life after she left home, preparing her for life when both her parents would be gone. Shaila recently signed her “National Signing Day” where she will be attending Central Michigan University and competing on their gymnastics team while also being a double major – Mathematics and Statistics.
So my work on this goal was done. Of course I will always be there for Shaila as long as I am alive, but I felt I had achieved what I had set out to achieve. So, what’s next? Where do I go from here? For me, I need a purpose in life? I need to feel I am here to make some sort of contribution to something; a cause, a person, to humankind. Without a purpose in life, why bother having a life. I read a good deal about Ernest Hemmingway and got the sense he had no raison d’etre – so he ended his life. Viktor Frankl, in his marvelous book “Man’s Search for Meaning” describes similar situations where those who were able to survive the concentration camps of WWII found a reason for living. This is not to say all the camp prisoners did want to live, but rather many deaths were also caused by people who gave up hope and walked into the electrified fences – thus following a similar fate as Hemmingway.
So I return to my question – what is next? Is there a next? Where do I go from here?
Then it hit me – I want to thank Ting Qin’s mother for having the love and passion to give up her daughter for adoption in hopes she would have a better life. I do hope I have not let her mother down. But I do want to thank her – and that will be my last journey, to find Shaila’s birth mom and thank her and let her know that her daughter is thriving, beautiful, happy, competent, and successful and any other adjectives that describe achievement.
My goal is actually two-fold; clearly the primary goal is to find Shaila’s birth mom. My secondary goal is to keep a journal and write about the journey. I am a math major and I do know the probability of finding her mother is infinitesimally small. I mean there are only 1.4 Billion people living in China. The country is ½ way around the world, I don’t speak the language and I am entering an age when most normal people are looking to settle down, retire and enjoy the last phase of their lives. In Mathematics, the “norm” means the average. So to be normal is to be average. In truth, I cannot recall ever meeting an average person, for whatever that means. But, having never been normal and actually finding most normal people to be “boring”, I would never let normalcy stand in my way – so here goes….
Thank you so much for the kind words and for sharing some of your own desires and story! I would be glad to help in any way I can. I was surprised at how easy it was to set up the blog. It takes time, but it’s not nearly as bad as what I expected! You have such a story to share and so many would benefit from it!
You are in my prayers with this endeavor! Follow His lead……we will enjoy and support you.
Thank you Frances! That means the world to me! Much love and prayer to you and yours!