One day, Tom Turcich decided to walk the world. He left in April 2015, and except for returning to the U.S. for recovery, obtaining visa requirements, and sitting out the pandemic, he’s continued to hike, covering 39 countries and approximately 19,000 miles. He’s posted many Instagram messages. A December 2016 Instagram message caught my eye, and then my heart.

12/12/16 Day 612. The great thing about walking everyday is that despite being exposed to the elements, I have a purpose each and every day; walk. I never fall asleep unsure what I’ll do with tomorrow. I know I’ll learn a little more and grow [a] little more with each new area I pass into.”

How does one find purpose each and every day? A lot of us can find meaning from the late comedian George Carlin, “You get up, you go to work, eat three meals, you take one good shit, and you go back to bed. So what’s the fucking mystery?!” Many are like the late Julie Yip-Williams, “I have found the meaning and purpose I have desperately sought my entire life. And that is an incredible, beautiful, glorious thing to be able to say. No one, and certainly not I, could ask for more than that in one lifetime, as brief as it may be.” 

Clinicians keep telling me I am dying. (A few claimed I should either already be dead or near death). When I was initially diagnosed ‘terminal’ two-plus years ago, my case manager asked, “What do you want to do?” I confided that God had something He wanted me to do, but I wasn’t sure what it was. I exuded confidence that somehow God would let me know, and I would march off to His adventure. Twenty-seven months later, I am still waiting. If I had to write God now, I would mimic Heinrich Harrer (Seven Years in Tibet), “In this place where time stands still, it seems like everything is moving. Including me. I can’t say I know where I’m going nor if my bad deeds can be purified. There are so many things I have done that I regret. But when I come to a full stop I hope you understand that the distance between us is not as great as it seems.” 

And it is true, the distance between God and I is not that great. No. I am not stating I am God, like God, will ever be close to being God. Neither do I claim to be another Jesus, nor angelic. I am a man who lost his way, claimed to become a Buddhist in 2010, became ‘Spiritual,’ then found God again. My friend ‘God’ is very different. He’s more compassionate, more loving, and more forgiving. He’s never asked me to throw a ring into Mount Doom, answering all God’s email with ‘approved,’ or demand I show up in court and defend Him. Yet, I waited.

What I did learn was that I expected some profound truth. And the ‘truth’ had to be epic. In essence, I was waiting for something big. I wanted God to smack me in the face head-on and change my trajectory for whatever time I had left. I so wanted to write a book, but did I require God demanding I do that? I wanted to become a good ethical man, but did I need a ‘higher being’ to pull me aside and say, “Hey, dipstick! Not that way, this way.” Did I require a divine vision to become more humane when all the humanness inside was bursting to come forth? No. No. No. I had all the tools. They were there inside, ready for use.

For Julie Yip-Williams, ‘purpose’ came unexpectedly. “It came unexpectedly, unbidden in the final months of my life, the many pieces magically and even miraculously falling into place, as if moved by divine forces, manipulated by the invisible hand of God, those forces of good of which I have written in the past that have always somehow protected me and made me powerful, even at my weakest, in the face of those forces that would do me harm.”

What my friend (God) did was reconcile me to my somewhat imperfect life. (Life of deceit, hatred, anger). Travel, meditation experiences, love, and visits from angels might change your viewpoint, but at the core, you are still the same person you were before the occasion. But within the heart are many tools, some good and some awful. You get to decide which to utilize. So before lifting any device, be sure to see if my friend is asking, “How about this tool?”