I hit a milestone last week when on Saturday October 22 I turned 65. I think we all have a birthday from time to time that takes us by surprise, as we wonder to ourselves, “Where did the time go?” This particular birthday reminded me of life’s call to actions (CTA); those choices we get to make every day of our life that drive our passion and engage our strengths towards meaningful experiences.
Earlier in the week a longtime friend, Joyce Duvall, put out a CTA for Christopher’s Haven (https://www.facebook.com/christophershaven/?fref=ts.) Joyce is executive director at this remarkable location at Mass General Hospital offering temporary apartment living to families bringing their children for cancer treatment. She had an overwhelming amount of work to do to get 2 apartments up and running. These apartments were donated to the Haven through the generosity of Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots, who would be visiting to meet the grateful recipients of a place to live during a challenging time in life.
I looked at my schedule and could see some wiggle room on Friday, and decided to respond to her CTA. In my heart I knew that spending some of my day giving back was beneficial to the mission of Christopher’s Haven and my own happiness as well.
Joyce and I go way back. We met when we were 19, working together at a Boston office. We’ve seen each other through 46 years of life, and it wasn’t all pretty, for either of us. The thread of love, respect, connection, life experiences have all been a significant part of our journey together. Joyce handed me 3 pillows and some fabric and said, “What do you think? Can you possibly make these 3 pillows and get them back here sometime over the weekend?” That was how I spent the a.m. part of my birthday and honestly, I was delighted.
In the afternoon, pillows happily completed, I attended a funeral celebrating the life of a very remarkable woman here in my town, Elaine Beals ( http://solf.org/.) Remarkable because she dedicated much of her life to protecting land that she purchased many years ago with her husband Phil. Elaine was a quiet and gentle woman with a powerful dedication to the land that she loved. It was a lifelong dedication, heartfelt and community driven. Over the years this commitment required many calls to action. She ensured the sustainability and use of open land for agriculture, wildlife protection and woodland trails for hiking with exceptional forest scenery and hilltop vistas. Chestnut Hill Farm and the forests around it have been enjoyed by my family for all the thirty years we have lived in Southborough. During the service I kept thinking of what a legacy one person can leave by responding to their personal call to action. Incredibly humbling.
My daughter Sarah and her boys, Ryder and Beckett, came over that evening for a relaxed birthday dinner. She is a social worker working for an early intervention agency. I look at her and my heart swells with pride and inspiration when I consider her commitment to families and young children. In spite of the immense challenges in this field, she remains committed, being called to action on a daily basis. She and her boys made me a very cool jack o lantern with candles carved into it!
Spending my birthday weekend, surrounded by others who rally to action was the best gift. At any age, we may be called to act. We often think this call needs to be earth shattering, but, it does not. It can show up in the smallest of ways but it will never happen in our lifetime with our own imprint, unless we say YES to the call. It might be the moment we’ve been waiting for all our life.
Your own Call to Action can be facilitated by:
- Paying attention to what you hear yourself say out loud. Such as: I love…. I wish…. It’s my dream to….
Seeking out others who hear a similar calling. This is how community is created.
- Continuing to explore and learn via experiences, books, adventures and education.
- Being courageous and being ready to get back up when you learn some difficult lessons.
- Staying true to your own voice. Following your unique path.