I’ve always been obsessed with the idea of finding my mold and making sure that I was being shaped to fit into it. That’s why we’re all here, no? That’s what I told myself. So, I figured that all the things that I had been through in my life, my diagnosis with sickle cell anemia, hospitalizations, PAIN—I figured it was leading me to one specific area in healthcare. That’s it. It made sense to me. I mean, why would God allow me to go through all of this without having a “Nurse Christina” somewhere in His blueprint for my life? I even mastered my Lifetime story to the t!
Hello, my name is Christina Levy and I was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia at the age of two. I was also born and raised in Jamaica West Indies at a time where medical care was not the best. I spent many nights in the care of doctors who didn’t know what else to do with me besides filling me with penicillin before realizing that what I truly needed, they didn’t have. However, when I migrated to America and was introduced to better healthcare and opportunity, I decided that I was going to be a beacon to other sick children. I want to let them know that life can, and will, exist beyond their illnesses.
Sounds good, right? That essay got me into my school’s nursing program and a few scholarships to go with it. For that, I am grateful. When I started though, I still didn’t feel like I had found my mold, my place. However, because I had committed 17 years of my life to this idea of who I was supposed to be, I kept making an excuse to stick with it. I was going to hold the hand of every child who wondered onto my floor, as entangled as they may be with IV wires. I was going to understand them. I was going to be the one who rewrote the narrative. I was going to let them know that there was still a life for them outside hospital walls.
What I did not realize was I was being small minded and as I sit here writing this, I hear the word “selfish”. I was being selfish? How could that possibly be? Well let’s have a shift in perspective really quickly. Okay, so here is a girl whose life has been greatly impacted by her health. However, that was not all she was. She already had a life outside of hospital walls. She had to go to school, interact with other kids, be a daughter and sister to two brothers—she had to live. Yet, whenever her health declined, all other areas of her life took a hit. Academically, she was missing months of school. Spiritually, she became doubtful. Mentally, she was being reminded of her imperfections. Socially, she was feeling left out and inadequate. She required holistic care, not only someone to tell her how much her hemoglobin will increase once she had that blood transfusion. So, why was I to think I was going to convince any child that there was life beyond the hospital walls if that was the only place they were going to see me? Yea, that just hit me hard.
We unconsciously do this many times, stuffing purpose into a corner and expecting it to manifest with the space we allot. Perhaps if we understood how HUGE purpose was, we would understand that it does not belong in a “mold”. Purpose is far greater than one’s vocation and the titles anyone is given. Purpose lies in actions and the lives we touch daily. We use our vocation and titles as a road map to the fulfilment of purpose. Contrary to popular belief, purpose is a journey not a destination. I read that recently on a friend’s blog and of course it is! Think of all the people we would fail if we accomplished the small piece of purpose we are able to comprehend. So you mean to tell me that you were placed on this earth solely to be an artist? To paint? Oh ye of little faith. Your purpose is so much larger than that. Do not place your whole life existence, breath, and your heartbeat in an occupation. The tools you may be using at the moment may be your brushes, a canvas, and oil colors. The title you occupy right now might be artist, singer, poet, or dancer. But at the end of the day, your purpose might be to motivate, empower, and inspire. When you think of it that way, you expand yourself beyond a limited space. You bring your purpose to people who aren’t interested in your water colors or how well you can hit a high soprano. You stretch yourself to fit your purpose. You are no longer trying to chip away at yourself to squeeze into a mold.
As a society, we have adopted a one track narrative. We are born, educated, then we work. Somewhere in that, we expect purpose to make itself known. We expect a teacher or mentor to tell us that we would make great physicians because we have a knack for the sciences. We look to the grades we receive in school to determine what we are to do with the rest of our lives. In doing this, we muzzle everything else that we have been predestinated to do. We give ear to the voice of limitations. As for me, I was limiting my future to reflect one sole area of my past, sickness. When I went to school then, I was forcing my education to align with that past. I was not paying attention to the desire I had to develop emotional connections with others nor was I paying attention to the natural ability I had for communicating with others through writing.
When we get in the habit of asking why instead of what, that is when we will find our purpose. Unfortunately, we live in a society that is more interested in the what. When we graduate from high school, the next task for us is to decide what we will study. When we are in college, the question becomes what are you going to do with a degree in Fine Art or Psychology? Even when we are thirty and trying to thrive, we are bombarded by friends and family asking what we are doing in our lives. While those questions are important, the answers will keep coming up incomplete without first finding that why. I knew my why but I was still limiting it to my past. I was still placing my why in a mold! I told myself that I could only convince the youth to live their best lives if they were sick and in the hospital. I was boxing my purpose in and demanding it to still manifest itself.
If we are ever going to come to realize our purpose and truly operate in it, we have to first know that purpose is greater than the tools we have. It is greater than a stethoscope, a paint brush, or a pen. Purpose needs all of those things to manifest, yes. But first, it needs us, as the ones who will carry it out, to realize what it is trying to communicate through those tools. You don’t give a man a hammer and nails without first giving him a blueprint of what he is supposed to build. In the same sense, we should not take on occupations without asking why and know what we want the end result to be. When we do that, we cripple ourselves and extinguish the fire that is inside of us all. We cannot succumb to the idea of trying to fit into a mold because it simply does not exist. Purpose is a journey, it is leading us beyond ourselves. It is my daily prayer that we start to listen and be guided towards everything that has been predestinated for us.
Peace, love & blessings//