Driving along a lonely two-lane road in the middle of Nowhere, Tennessee I spotted a small, fenced-in cemetery randomly placed in the middle of a seemingly endless uncut field. At first I passed it by, dismissing it as meaningless scenery. But as I drove on, I felt the unmistakable urge to turn around and take a closer look. I’m glad I did.
The world seemed different the moment I stepped from my car. I felt unwelcome as the wind rushed through the trees and the screams of birds grew louder with my every step, as if they were protesting my very presence. My feet cut through the tall grass as I made my way toward the weathered, wrought iron fence that enclosed a handful of unkempt gravestones. Most of the markers dated back to the late 1800s; men, women, couples buried side-by-side, even a child. But one particular stone really caught my eye, gripping me with a single word: “Mother.”
We don’t think about it much, but this is our time. We were born and we live in this exact moment in history. It’s no accident. And we all search for some deeper meaning. Why am I here? What am I supposed to be doing? I bent down and picked the grass around the stone and I stared at the word “Mother.” I wondered if I was looking at more than a word. I wondered if I was staring at this women’s purpose – her mission accomplished. And I wondered if she realized that while she was alive.
I walked back to the car and drove off. I thought about how many people feel worthless, indeed how many times I have felt worthless. I wondered if the woman buried beneath the stone that described who she was in a simple word felt worthless. Maybe we’re too hard on ourselves. Maybe all we need to do is author our own one-word stone – KIND, BRAVE, FRIEND…MOTHER.
Don’t believe the lie. You are not worthless. Perhaps you’ve already fulfilled your purpose. Maybe it wasn’t something huge for all to see. Maybe you played a bit role in a grander story. And maybe there’s more to do. Do it. Write your one word stone. This is your time.