365 Health Strategies (Jan 14):  Purpose
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Here's a seldom noticed or described characteristic of the healthy and the happy. I hesitate to mention it because the description may sound nebulous, impractical, cliché, or even flaky. But, I must speak of it because I see this characteristic in every truly happy person I know.

During years as an emergency room physician and while in private practice, I've questioned the very healthy and especially calm in the midst of calamity. I always found the characteristic I'm about to describe.

You also see this characteristic in today's scripture reading.

When I see the discontent and unhealthy (by way of their own destructive behavior), I frequently find someone who's highest aspiration involves a circle that inscribes only their own person or perhaps that of a few loved ones. But, the truly happy and those who fight for good health with the most ferocity have "lain down their own life" for a purpose higher than what lies within that circle.

It's said that a great missionary and explorer was told as he sailed into a distant port that to make land fall at the approaching shore would mean danger and possibly death.

The missionary replied, "We will still land here. We gave up our lives when we departed home on this voyage."

Those whom I've seen truly give up their life seem to gain a life of adventure, freedom, and happiness. I still saw them in pain in the ER. I still saw them catch the flu. But they demonstrated resilience and strength and peacefulness even when looking at death.

Recently, I spoke with a friend who still has no major medical problems and leads an active life at the age of 83. Her eyes sparkle delightfully when you speak to her and her conversation exudes whit and intelligence and creativity. She manages her affairs independently of anyone (though not always to the liking of her family). Her most recent purpose has been the adoption of recently divorced woman of 42 and her small child (until this single mother regains her financial and emotional composure). This 83-year-old woman has been teacher, artist, mother, wildcat oil prospector, and scholar. And, she still looks for something worth more than her own person.

Though the most healthy make keeping the body a top priority, they do so because they're connected to a purpose more important then even life on this planet. The body becomes an important tool for a project more important than the life of that body.

Giving up attachment to the results and committing everything to the purpose is much like rubbing your head and patting your stomach at the same time (as is carefully caring for the body while doing something more important than health).

Staying connected to this idea is difficult for me. I attempt the process with a daily question. Paul asked on the Damascus road, "Lord, what would you have me to do?" Some ask, "How do I want others to remember me?" Benjamin Franklin daily asked in the morning, "What good will I do today?" Then in the evening he would ask, "What good did I do today?"

__Matthew 25 - 28

__Walk 3 miles: actual miles _____

__Eat 5 fruits or vegetables _____

__Virtue: Silence-speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.

About these daily strategies

Peace & Health,


Charles Runels, MD


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