Written by Meaghan Timko // Edited by Chelsea DuDeVoire
A person who plays a minor part in a large organization, activity, etc.
"He's just a small cog in the financial department."
I have lived in a space that demanded too much of me for a really long time. I believed that if I was not giving it my all or sacrificing myself in some way, it wasn't enough; my efforts were meaningless. These sentiments - although they came from the right place - caused me to crumble. Actually, they caused me to implode.
Some time last year, I realized the erosion that is my purpose. During that time, two people - one of whom was very important to me - left this world. One without notice, and one with great pain. These events caused me to heavily reflect on a lot of things, and left me with a simple yet profound truth: I am a cog. I will always be a cog. I was put here for a reason, and at some point, I sailed so far way that I couldn't chart a path back.
Hear me, out friends: Cogs are not meant for great things. Cogs are meant for important things.
During this particularly grey season of my life, the amount of soul-searching I experienced was exponential. I’ll spare you the details of tear shed and let you know that not once did I reach some personal epiphany that steered me in a different direction. In fact, the opposite happened. Many a sign were posted on my path that said, “seek truth, not significance”. I did not listen, nor did I see. I believed a lie.
Until one day, I found myself answering a particular question: “What is your biggest accomplishment?” It was a free answer, and I had all the time in the world to submit my truth. I could not muster the words. I looked for days, for WEEKS, at this question.
I didn’t have a biggest accomplishment. I had a most important accomplishment. These are two very different things. So this is what I answered:
“In all honesty, my line of work does not yield awards and recognition that comes in the form of notable mention or a beautiful plaque. I would say that every new word spoken by a child I work with, each parent who finally feels they are not alone, every wayward situation I help steer back to center - that is my award. My office walls are decorated with the art and the smiling faces of children I work with each day. That, to me, is my greatest achievement.”
At that moment, I finally felt it. I am a cog. A small piece of a bigger thing that turns in time and rhythm with the cogs around me. A beautiful symphony of small notes that come together to make something important. When I finally heard this - when I listened - I knew I was going to be okay.
So here I sit today, serene in the truth that is my purpose: turn in time, act in truth with those around you, and create something beautiful to leave behind in this world.
If you are in doubt of yourself, know that you are important, cog. The world needs you.
You will be okay.
Meaghan Timko is the President and owner of Prime Behavior Analysts located in Marietta, Georgia. She has spent her entire career serving others as a behavior analyst and advocate for those in need, and as a voice for children and families affected by autism. Meaghan serves on the board of directors for Autism Speaks Georgia and is involved with community efforts to raise awareness of autism, special needs, and educational issues. You can reach her at Meaghan@primebehavior.com.