A Phone Charger, Candy Bars, and Life’s Purpose

I recently had the pleasure of going to Kripalu in Massachusetts to take part in the Abundant Magic seminar with Elizabeth Gilbert and Rachel Cargle. A relaxing, yet exciting weekend, with Rachel impressing the importance of knowing our highest values and Elizabeth inspiring us with every word she spoke.

In addition to the seminar, I was able to take advantage of Kripalu’s many retreat offerings like yoga and meditation classes, revitalizing meals, and the beauty of the Berkshire mountains surrounding their magnificent grounds. As a bonus, there were 280 other like-minded people to connect with.

The cafeteria style dining room made for an easy way to meet others. One afternoon I sat down with my tray of food and soon after a woman in her early fifties sat next to me. She said something about the soup and the two of us went on to have our own conversations with the other people surrounding us. We didn’t interact with each other until the end of the meal when she stood up with her tray and asked if anyone had a Samsung phone charger.

As it turned out, I had a Samsung phone charger in my room, but I remained silent. Afterall, I didn’t know this woman.

She went on addressing the table, “I had to get a burner phone in Pittsfield, and I don’t want to have to drive there again for a charger.”

A burner phone? My interest was piqued. I’ve only heard the term burner phone used in episodes of Better Call Saul.

I reluctantly spoke up, “I have a Samsung phone charger.”

Her face lit up!

Together, we walked to my room as she filled me in on her story.

Her name was Catherine. She flew in and lost her phone in the Atlanta airport. Her son was staying with a friend, and it was important to her to stay in touch with him throughout the weekend. This was the first time they’ve been apart since her husband died six years ago.

When we arrived at my room, I handed her my charger, and we planned for her to leave it for me at the front desk after the seminar’s next session.

Later, when I went to the front desk, there was no charger left for me.

“Did this woman take off with my charger?” I thought. Then proceeded to make up an entire story to feast on as I walked back up to my room.

Just as I got to my floor, I saw Catherine walking toward me. She greeted me with a smile and said, “I was just knocking on your door. I was able to talk to my son and everything was fine. I appreciate you letting me borrow this so much.”

She couldn’t have been more appreciative. I told her to come back if she needed it again.

About ten minutes later Catherine was back at my door with chocolate bars. “I just want to thank you again. These are for you, I wasn’t sure which you’d like, so I got both.”

This small act of kindness had such a positive impact on our weekend experience. First for Catherine by me letting her borrow the charger, and then for me, by the appreciation Catherine expressed for something that cost me nothing. My heart was full.

When I returned home, I looked for Catherine on social media, but couldn’t find her. Now, I’ll never know her full story; she’ll only be a memory to me.

And that’s it, that’s the story. I loaned a stranger a phone charger and now I’m going to tell you how it led to finding my purpose. That day, my purpose was to help Catherine, but I’ve had a different one each day since. Purpose is fleeting and ever changing and can’t be narrowed down to just one thing. All we need to do is show up for life and our purpose (for the moment) will be realized. Sometimes it will be lending an object to someone in need and another time it may be to change the world.

Tell me this: What will you do to fulfill today’s purpose?

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