What were you created to do? As a freshman at Azusa Pacific University I am frequently asked some variation of this question. As an Undeclared Major my answer to such questions is less than satisfying. What was I created to do? Well I can tell you what I was definitely not created to do. I don’t intend to major in a subject involving large amounts of math or science. I hope I am not meant to go to college for more than four years, and if a job would require me to sit in an office at a computer all day you can count me out! But beyond those criteria I can’t really paint much of a picture for my future.
Of course I’ve had more clear plans in the past, but time and experience have seemed to put those plans into perspective. When I was a young girl I wanted to be a missionary who traveled from country to country on horseback. After that it was an inventor and then a veterinarian – that is until watching a horse receive an ultrasound changed my mind. A teacher? Not patient enough. An author? Not dedicated enough. A spy? A medical examiner? A forensic scientist? No. No. No. About the only plan I can seem to stick to is not having a plan. But after a semester of explaining that I am undeclared and being met by high-fives from peers in the same situation, or excitement from others determined to persuade me into their major, I’ve learned one thing. Maybe not knowing where I will be tomorrow is not such a horrible thing. After all, I am not even guaranteed today.
On December 13, 2013 I was at dinner with my brother, grandfather and cousin when I received a phone call from my mother. She explained to me that my friend Claire, with whom I had grown up riding horses, had been the victim of a shooting at her high school earlier that day and was undergoing surgery in a local hospital. My heart broke as I thought of the beautiful girl I had met only seven short years earlier and imagined the pain her family must be feeling in the midst of such uncertainty. Over the next week I spent several hours at the hospital with her family trying to understand such a sudden and horrible tragedy. I met in fellowship with my barn family as we attempted to find reason to smile while the only one who had always been able to make us laugh, was in a coma fighting for her life. And above all else, I sought answers to questions that will likely never come. Eight days later, on December 21, Claire passed away leaving everyone who had been blessed enough to know her, and countless others who had heard her story, left to mourn the loss of such a bright and unique individual. Amid the conversations with her mom, the slideshows capturing her beauty and grace, and the funeral and memorial speakers who attempted to put the story of such an incredible girl into words, one thing stood out. Even more than her ability to make anyone happy, her humble confidence or her genuine smile, what Claire chose to do with her last breath is what truly makes her story a legacy. Claire approached her fellow student who had entered the school and fired a shotgun down a hallway only seconds earlier and asked him, “What are you doing?” Even in her last moments, Claire’s untainted concern for all life and her desire to leave the world a better place than she had found it shone through. Despite the unexplainably tragic outcome of that day, Claire’s voice has not been silenced. Rather, it has been made stronger. It can be heard echoing in the minds of everyone pausing a moment to ask themselves, “What are you doing?”
I may not have a clear idea of what my future will comprise. I can’t tell you where I will be a year from now or ten. I don’t know what major I will pursue or what job I will earn as a result. But when I push all of those things aside, it becomes perfectly clear what I was created to do. I was created to love God first and others second. I am called to defend those who cannot defend themselves and care for those who cannot care for themselves. My purpose is to live in such a way that people cannot spend time with me and walk away unchanged. So what am I doing? What am I doing to love God’s people today, regardless of whether or not I like them, simply because they are His? What am I doing to make a person better for having known me? When I ask someone how they are, do I actually care to hear the answer or do I accept “I’m fine” and continue on my way? Do I smile at a stranger or brush past them because I’m in my world with my own concerns? Because when we strip away the superficial yet consuming things of this world, all we are really left with is each other and the One who created us all. So although I may not have all the answers, I know this for certain – I was created to let showing God’s love be enough. And no matter where this life journey takes me, I will always take a moment to stop and ask myself, “What are you doing?”
What were you created to do?
For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Ester 4:14
In Loving Memory of Claire Ester Davis