Have you ever sought something and missed seeing it right in front of you? Have you laughed at yourself after digging through a purse only to find the sunglasses you seek resting quietly on top of your head?

Or found yourself looking for the very telephone you were holding? (I’ve done that too – while telling the person on the other end about the struggle to find my phone!)

The Search

These little treasure hunts might make us laugh or cause brief irritation, but what happens when we desperately search for a new direction or purpose in life?

Maybe the loss of a dream or a crushing emotional blow steers us away from what we sought towards something else.

But how do we find the something else?

Several years ago I was quietly drowning in bitterness and despair during my quest to be a mom. All of the treatments, tests, doctors, losses, and dashed hopes eventually made me face the inevitable, so I waved a white flag and put down the dream.

A cloud of confusion loomed over my life as I sought a new way to fully live out meaning and purpose. I found no map marked with “You Are Here” and a flag drawn over my life destination off in the distance.

I was lost. Just kept putting one foot in front of the other. Plodding, really, with no direction or enthusiasm.

A Question

Then one day, an acquaintance approached me at church and he posed a simple question:

Julie, I hear you play the piano and we need a pianist at a retirement home church service.

Would you be willing to play for us?

I could find no good reason to decline and the day and time worked for me, so I said yes. (Oh, and I also envisioned my mother’s face beaming with pride because those long-ago piano lessons and the tug-of-war over daily practice would finally serve a meaningful purpose. :).)

One question from someone I hardly knew led to a brand new adventure with incredible people.

Discovery

A new path.

And that new path led to another.

And another.

And another.

Suddenly, surprisingly, life-purpose and dreams unfolded before me.

I didn’t recognize the gift one question could give. I didn’t expect this question to lead down a fascinating trail and certainly didn’t see it at the time.

Those black and white keys gave music to my world in more ways than one. They paved the way of hopeful expectation. I only now trace the twists and turns of the last several years back to the magnitude of one simple question.

Would you be willing to play for us?

Thank you, my friend, for asking.

(Have you been encouraged by a simple question? Have you encouraged someone else by asking a simple question?)