Colette Hawley is a singer based in Chicago. For years, she has visited senior centers to sing to residents. However, when the coronavirus quarantine began, especially affecting older adults, she had to revise her strategy.
She rented a thirty-foot cherry picker bucket truck. With its help, she sang outside the windows of residents on the third and fourth floors of Chicago Methodist Senior Services.
Her inspiring Memorial Day concert made global news. “I did find the overwhelming response really heartwarming because it indicated to me that people really do want to see something good happening for seniors in these nursing homes,” she said. “People just don’t know what to do and how to do it.”
“Everyone was smiling and laughing,” said Jenn Ross, art program coordinator at the residence where Colette sang. “There’s a huge loss right now without having family members and friends and volunteers here to engage with folks. . . . It really kind of boosted morale all around.”
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who attended Indiana University with Colette, said that she “has always had an amazing heart and a desire to entertain people. Leave it to her to find a way when others don’t know how.”
Here’s the part of the story that especially struck me: at one point in her career, Colette lost her singing voice. She could sing low notes but not midrange or high notes. “When I went to sing the notes, they did not come out,” she said. “I could not produce the sounds.”
She sought the help of therapists, consulted doctors, and even had surgery, but nothing helped. Years later, she discovered that the more she sang for seniors, the more her voice slowly came back. It is now stronger than ever.
“I took that as a pretty big sign from the universe that this was where I was meant to be and what I was meant to do,” she said.
Finding the purpose that will simplify your life
Like Colette Hawley, you have been given abilities and gifts. Like her, you are responsible to utilize your gifts as fully as possible: “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10).
And like her, you will discover that the more you use your gifts, the stronger they become.
Author James Clear says, “Entrepreneurship is a personal growth engine disguised as a business pursuit.” William Barclay made a statement that I wrote on an index card and display on my desk: “A man will never become outstandingly good at anything unless that thing is his ruling passion. There must be something of which he can say, ‘For me to live is this.'”
Psychologist Abraham Maslow observed that “an artist must paint, a poet must write, a musician must make music if he is to be fully at peace with himself.” Winston Churchill told the House of Commons in June 1941, “I have but one purpose, the destruction of Hitler, and my life is much simplified thereby.”
What purpose will simplify your life today?