The entire world is still and silent, heaps of new snow piled before doors and windows. No cars drive to work this morning, no kids trudge to school. Just silence and peace, perfect stillness, crisp silence.

My beloved hometown is under a foot of snow or more. People rest easily in their homes. Schools were canceled yesterday afternoon and before we fell asleep, my husband’s work rang to let him know not to come in.

This gift of time together is a precious one. We are forced to stop, to be together, to rest easy, to slow down. Thank you, universe, for taking us out of our busy crazy routine and making stillness all around.

And now, I am the only one awake. If it were a school day, everyone would be up and moving, if not happy about it. The little one would be dressed and ready for breakfast, and the older two would be struggling from their beds, trying to gain wakefulness.

Instead, today we can wake when our bodies tell us, linger in pajamas, sip at coffee and lounge on the couch. There is no rush. The only item on the agenda is to visit our new cousin in the hospital and perhaps play outside in the snow. The big boy wants to go skiing; perhaps the others might sled. Who knows…it’s an open agenda, without firm obligations.

Which makes me wonder about the regular workaday week. So many commitments, so much rushing from one appointment to the next. Sometimes the hour carved for exercise gets kicked aside; often the promises to the self get scrapped for other people’s demands.

It’s the way of the world, to be at the call of others. We live to please, we live to earn, we live to amount to something, when in the end, little of it matters.

The other night, friends sat around our dining room table with Esperanza Spalding on the speakers. We sipped wine and ate from plates heaped with home-cooked food, and one friend commented on a couple in their late 40s, preparing to retire to the South. Their only child, a senior in high school, the world is open to them.

The husband, a teacher in a northern town, cast his net for new jobs in the destination where they’ve already bought a house. Immediately, his dream job came up on the hook, and he took off a year early to fulfill the request.

Ask and ye shall receive.

It makes me ponder what life is really about. What are we here for? Why do we chase schedules and money and positions? What is it truly all for?

Three times, I’ve welcomed beautiful sweet babies into the world, and at those moments, the purpose of everything fell away as I stared into precious blue eyes and knew that our hearts were forever linked, that my purpose on Earth was to shepherd these souls toward good and happiness and fulfillment.

Now, those precious souls race, too, fulfilling their schedules and obligations, earn the good grades to get them to the next level, and to college at the end. They practice for their performances, make plans with friends, sully out the nuances of relationship and interaction and middle-school madness.

The little one, in his new school, has finally found his path. Until then, he struggled against the surroundings, trying to fit into the flow. So much of life is a struggle, but why?

A friend started her career as a foster care case worker, with no aspirations other than to help people and make a difference. And perhaps that is the lesson: nothing other than what is right in front of us, the good goals, the desire to help, to better the world, to improve the plight of others.

That same friend has now risen the ranks to command the top post in one of the state’s largest organizations, but the desire never changed. I don’t believe she sought fame and grandeur; I believe she stayed on the path toward goodness, her heart in the right place, the work driven by her passion to do good.

The entire world is still and silent, heaps of new snow piled before doors and windows. No cars drive to work this morning, no kids trudge to school. Just silence and peace, perfect stillness, crisp silence.

Our purpose on this Earth becomes magnified in such stillness. A day for clarity, for understanding, for knowing what we are meant to do, and why.

When we have the time and space to breathe deeply, we can do so and fill up with the lift needed to make our imprint on the world, to help others. When we can restore to beauty our own harried bodies and wearied souls, we can add another brick to the foundation of a world of good, outline our purpose, understand the goal.

It is all for good. If only we can keep our focus on what matters.

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