“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”-Mark Twain
The first speech I had to memorize and perform this past year in “Performing Shakespeare” was Hamlet’s enormous speech in Act II. It wasn’t enormous to me because of its length, but rather because of its topic. For those of you who are avid fans of the Bard, scholars of literature or Shakespearean actors, you know the one I’m referring to:
“…I have of late—but wherefore I know not—lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises, and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory…”
My Senior year of high school I wrote an exposition essay on this same speech. I couldn’t quite comprehend how a person could lose all of their joy (or mirth, if you will) in life. While I hopefully will never be able to comprehend the extent of Hamlet’s emotions, I have come to realize over the past two weeks that the eventual question Hamlet poses in this speech, “What is this quintessence of dust?” or “What are we but dust? What is my purpose? What is life? Why am I here? What’s the point?” has transformative power when contemplated upon.
I was always told a) I had a purpose in my life and b) to live every day with purpose. Yes, I knew what both of these phrases meant. I thought I completely understood them. BUT BOY, was I wrong. Two weeks ago I moved to a new city…by myself…I wanted to challenge myself to be self-sufficient, self-dependent and self-assured. I have always been driven and goal-oriented. When I set out to finish something, I don’t just finish it, I finish it strong. Stepping on to my plane, I had an overpowering urge to turn around, run back into the airport and stay; stay at home, in comfort, in circumstance and in… to call it like it was…fear. I kept telling myself over and over again, “Get ahold of yourself, Karissa, you are completely able to do this. You are stronger than you think you are. You aren’t given anything you can’t handle.” I started praying for peace and more confidence than I had ever needed before, and as soon as I set down in my seat, I was at peace and had mustered confidence.
Fast forward to last week as I began reading Me Before You, only because there was a very appealing movie trailer to go along with it. That. Book. As of this afternoon, I’m on chapter 18, but already I am thinking differently about life and the essence of living. If you are among the minority of people who have not/ are not presently reading Jojo Moyes’s work, the story follows a girl named Louisa who is comfortable living within a 5-mile radius of her house until she meets a paralyzed Will Traynor. Will teaches Louisa to want more out of life than to watch television all day in the same place she’s always been. “You only get one life. It’s actually your duty to live it as fully as possible,” he tells her. For Will, though he is alive physically, he is not able to actually live because of his wheelchair confinement. Perhaps my favorite quote from the book is: “Push yourself. Don’t Settle. Just live well. Just LIVE.” This has become my motto for this summer.
I don’t want to fearfully shut myself in my apartment because of the “what-ifs,” afraid to get out and live the life the Lord has given to me, to find the purpose He has for my life. I hope this post serves as a reminder that every day of our lives is such a blessing. We must be ready to let our faith outweigh our fears. Looking back on the Saturday two weeks ago on that plane when I was telling myself encouraging things…they were all true. I am capable through the Lord. I am stronger through Him. I can do all things through Him. I have peace and confidence through Him. Unlike Hamlet, I have my happiness through Him. This summer I am striving to live with purpose, make a difference in every person’s life I come into contact with, be bold, and live the life God has destined for me to live.
The most wonderful thing about my whole journey this summer is that I can see His orchestration in it all “for such a time as this.” I don’t have to be completely self-sufficient, self-dependent and self-assured because God is right by my side in everything I do, wherever I go (even if it is the North).
“Who knows? Maybe you were made queen for just such a time as this.”-Esther 4:14
“I’m no longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God.”