My Generation

What’s your purpose in life?

Maybe you don’t have to be famous or well-appointed to change the world. Maybe you can just be a cook, and change it anyway.

We went to a funeral last week for a dear soul. Her name was Barbara Lou Manock – best known as Barbara Lou - or if you were part of a privileged few, Grandma Louie.

There are things I’d always known about Barbara Lou, like that her husband died tragically when her sons were young. But I never realized how young they all were until I read her obituary. She married her husband in 1960; he was killed late in 1964. She raised two little boys into fine men and never married again; her soulmate was gone. And there may be no greater legacy than this: her sons say they never felt cheated, because she loved them enough for two parents.

Barbara Lou was like a lot of women you probably know in your community. She was a cook. She cooked hundreds of thousands of meals, first as an elementary school cook for 30 years, and as a cook at Faith Bible Camp. She kept kids in line, she kept them nourished and along the way, she fed their souls.

She folded people into her world, simply and easily. When I married my husband and came to live here, I became one of hers. No big deal. Just the way it was. She battled cancer and my boy sought her out at church always to give her a hug. No big deal. Just the way it was. Because that’s how Barbara Lou did it.

In this world, we are often told we’re to do something big, or be something big. Famous, maybe even. Famous is supposed to be better. Want to change the world? Go do something large and dramatic. That’s what the world says.

But look at Barbara Lou: she was “just” a cook.

Yet this simple woman cooking meals changed the world. She changed lives all around her, with food and prayer and love. That’s where it starts.

There is comfort in resting in God’s plan. We were all created with purpose, on purpose and for a purpose.

Barbara Lou knew her purpose: to love her people well.

What’s your purpose?

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