Greatness Is Trapped In Everyone, Even If You’re Not Mother Teresa


You can’t always get what you want.

My mom would tell me that often. But as the years passed, I knew she wasn’t talking about something petty like a doll or pair of shoes. She was speaking about something much deeper. This was a difficult lesson to learn as a child, yet it’s one I’ll never forget.

When I was in third grade, I asked God to make me like Mother Teresa. I wanted to have her heart. I believed that if I could replicate the smallest fraction of Mother Teresa’s life, I would be loved. Well, I’ve been on this earth for nearly forty years and it’s not looking good. I’m certain my prayer won’t be answered anytime soon.

That’s okay because I realize I’m not supposed to be like anybody else. I believe I was uniquely made. I am not measured by the work I do but by the grace I receive. And I believe there is a great plan for my life even if it means just being a stay at home mom.

While Mother Teresa’s legacy will live on forever in my mind, I’ve accepted the fact that there’s only one her. Just like there is only one me and one you.

It’s a new year, and I’m headed in a different emotional direction. I feel liberated. Lighter. I’m aiming to create my own legacy now.

I’m still a bundle of paradoxes.

The real Anka is a paradox wrapped in a contradiction. I love and I hate. I feel good about feeling good. I feel guilty for feeling guilty. I’m trusting but suspicious. I’m honest but selective. That’s part of my story, but it’s not the whole story.

But there in the ruins of my story, my dreams and heartaches, my marriage and children, betrayal and forgiveness, love and loss, I have concluded one thing:

Love is not a moving target. It’s a fixed mark. Clear and attainable.

I know this because of an experience I had with my daughter. I was in the kitchen cooking as she walked toward me. She mumbled, “I already know the answer but I’m asking anyway. Can I make the soup?”

Her cheek pressed against my shoulder. I knew she was asking for something more–she wanted affirmation. As I looked into her soft brown eyes, I saw myself. The little girl, who at age nine, decided to do whatever it takes to ensure approval from her parents. Especially her mother’s.

In that moment, I remembered standing in my mom’s kitchen, begging her to help with dinner, but was denied. Leaving that memory in the past, where it belongs, I grabbed my daughter’s hand and replied:

Yes, you can help.

Guess sometimes you really do get what you want.

Why do many of us run away from our callings? Whether it’s to become a prolific writer, chocolate taster, or gondolier. What blocks us?