Joseph Campbell once wrote that “We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” The life of singer/songwriter Bruce Springsteen reflects just how powerful doing that very thing can be, for the life planned for Bruce Springsteen wasn’t much. He grew up in a working-class New Jersey family, in an environment that did not value or expose children to the riches of art and other cultural offerings — and one that was not supportive of Bruce’s music. According to his biography, when he was in the third grade, one of his teachers told him to sit in a garbage can in front of the class because that, she said, was where he belonged.
Imagine what the consequences of just that single message could have been for his life. Instead, Bruce honored the spark in his heart and the creativity of his imagination — and created a life and work that has had a powerful impact on millions of lives (including mine) for 35 years now, and he’s still going strong. Is there anyone who has ever seen Bruce Springsteen perform who does not believe that he’s living out his purpose — the very gift that he was born to share with the world? Seeing someone share the fullness of their talent, authentic being, and heart not only inspires us, it energizes us; it is a true force of energy. In Bruce’s words, it helps us to remember that it “ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive”— and what better message to share with others is there, than to share one’s sense of hope?
May we look for the people, places and things that inspire us to live our highest purpose. May we remember that living our highest purpose not only is a gift to ourselves, but to others. May we remember to be glad we’re alive…
—Rev. Maggie Oman Shannon