• ashirk@gmail.com
  • Kijabe, Kenya
on purpose

on purpose

Yesterday, I was sitting in our upstairs conference room waiting on a meeting to start and one of our interns wandered into the room and sat down to read. He asked me about PECCCO, the new emergency medicine training program we have started, and why he had never heard of it. My answer, it didn’t exist outside of our hopes and minds until a year ago, and the first class had only started 3 months ago. We chatted a bit longer and I made a joke about my age, and he became thoughtful.

“So, when all is said and done,” he asked. “Do you think you will be able to tell God you accomplished what He put you on this Earth to do?”

Startled by the turn in the conversation, but intrigued, I stopped trying to get my computer to turn on and focused:

“I don’t think I actually know what my purpose is,” I answered. “It is probably not what I think it is, but I am trying to be faithful in the day-to-day and hope that the sum of those moments and days will be used for something good.”

Is my purpose to push the needle on emergency care for kids in Kenya, or to mentor the interns, to raise my girls to be kind and compassionate, to bridge a dividing ocean, to support David in Friends of Kijabe, or see the patient in front of me? Is it day-to-day bedside care or the increasing administrative duties that move things forward in the bigger picture of the hospital? Is it policies and procedures or people and relationships?

Is it all of the above?

The days of 2021 have been relentless and overwhelming. One day last month, as I was drinking my coffee and pausing before the day, David told me to “go save the world.” I responded, “I think today, all I can do is show up.”

Perhaps, though, that is all that any of us can expect to do. To wake up and see what He has placed in front of us – what task, what person, what moment – from the mundane to the profound, and do it with excellence and with love.

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly now. Love mercy now. Walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it – R. H. Evans.

But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do,
    what God is looking for in men and women.
It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
    be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don’t take yourself too seriously—
    take God seriously. Micah 6:8