Some people have a calling to help others. These Benefactors learn it or discover it or seek it, and they feel it strongly. Sometimes this emerges early in life and shapes a person’s life completely, determining his vocation or career. Sometimes it wraps around the margins of life, filling in the empty spaces of time and spirit. And sometimes it emerges later in life, once other priorities lose their power, overcoming the distraction of job and family and shining new light into a life somewhat dimmed by faded purpose and sated appetites.
While many paths include some element of selflessness and service to others, Benefactors are those whose primary focus is service, regardless of comfort or income or even safety. The Peace Corps comes to mind and Doctors Without Borders and Habitat for Humanity. But large, organized programs are only the most obvious examples. Even more interesting are the stories of individual people who see a way to make a difference and act on it. Sometimes these actions grow into organizations, but more often they play out as solo commitments, largely unnoticed and uncelebrated.
Here at The Rest of Your Life, I’d like to notice and celebrate as many of these as I can. I am most interested in those who come to their calling later. I’d like to understand how they discover it and how they choose to act upon it. Surely it must be a difficult choice, especially if there’s a price to pay. I’d like to know how such people navigate the change and the difficulties and whether they have moments of doubt or even surrender. And I’d like to know if, ultimately, they find what they have sought.