Monday, July 29, 2013

Following Your Call

Image courtesy of Davide Guglielmo

One man says it really happened. At the conclusion of his medical exam, the doctor asked him if he would please call in the next patient. So, he opened the waiting room door and called, “Mrs. Colchester, please.” Then he left the doctor’s office.

He had walked some distance along the street outside when he heard Mrs. Colchester’s voice behind him, “Where are we going?”

She knew she was being called, but she misunderstood the intent. I wonder if she made it back in time for her appointment.

There are times I can relate to her. I, too, have experienced “callings” in my life, though mine have taken the form of callings to a certain vocation or a particular life-direction. And sometimes I’ve been confused about exactly where I am going when following that voice and just as uncertain about where I may end up.

It's an old-fashioned word, “calling.” It can mean a profession or line of work. Or even a strong inner urge or impulse. In my case, callings have led me to dedicate myself to something I believed I was meant to do in life.

Oprah Winfrey says this about callings: “I've come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that's as unique as a fingerprint – and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.”

It is a satisfying thing when we feel called to a worthy purpose. How beautiful (and how rare) it is to believe we are doing just the thing we’re meant to do in this life. But is it realistic to think we must do THE ONE THING we were meant to do? How about doing ONE OF THE THINGS we are passionate about? Let me explain.

Consider a Swiss Army pocketknife. It is a multipurpose tool. It can cut, saw, file, snip and open up cans and jars. With it, one can turn a screw, pull out a splinter, pop the cork in a wine bottle and even pick one’s teeth. (My advice: never leave home without one.)

You and I are more like Swiss Army knives than butter knives or steak knives. We can DO more than one thing. We can LOVE more than one thing. We can BE more than one thing. Likewise, we may be called to more than one thing.

Like Swiss Army knives, we have options. Ours is to discover those truly worthwhile things we feel led to do and be – things we love, that are life-affirming and deserve our best – and then to commit to them, to give ourselves over fully to them and pursue them with joy. That is what it means to be called. And that is how to make a life count.

But beware of this about callings: they may not lead us where we intended to go or even where we want to go. If we choose to follow, we may have to be willing to let go of the life we already planned and accept whatever is waiting for us. And if the calling is true, though we may not have gone where we intended, we will surely end up where we need to be.

It is like an adventure. Are you ready?

-- Steve Goodier



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