Do you know what you are called to do or be? Have you always known? Have you had several different callings or just one? Do you have a calling on the “back burner”?
Some people seem to know their calling at birth. They make a beeline straight toward their destiny. I ran across an old friend like this on Facebook. I remember him from high school as being a super smart, likeable and devout young man from a military family. I see that he became a chaplain at West Point!
If you’d met me in high school, there would have been no way to divine my future path.
Most of my life I have zigged and zagged this way and that, distracted by the many shiny things of the world. I have let my ego and other people’s visions for me lead the way. They say there is a consistent unifying thread that runs through each of our lives. If that is true, mine must be in a tangled mess by now.
Part of it is that I have an inability to “settle” on anything, which isn’t all bad. I am always open to new adventures and creative projects. On the downside, I have lacked boundaries. My tendency has been to merge with others and not stay in an awareness of important parts of myself — parts which might have helped me discover my calling earlier in the game.
But always I have been asking, “What are you here for? What do you want to do with your life, Betsy? Who are you really? Why is this so hard??!!”
Although I am traveling light, I do have a few books with me all the time. One of them is by Gregg Levoy and is titled, “Callings: Living the Authentic Life.” My copy is dog-eared and heavily underlined. He says, “You just need to figure out what decisions will assure that when your life flashes before your eyes, it will hold your interest.”
Now on my walkabout, with time and solitude to be with myself, I have discovered my calling. It happened just the other day, and it was if my vision cleared suddenly — less of an “Ah Ha”, and more of an “Oh yeah . . . that makes sense.”
So what is my calling?
In one way or another, I am called to help people find their “voice” and be “seen and heard”– by the whole wide world, or by their community, or by their family or maybe just by themselves for themselves.
By “voice” I mean the expression of a person’s true inner self, through speech, action, vocation, avocation or any of the art forms. By “seen and heard” I mean to be acknowledged, validated and valued. To use your voice and be seen and heard is deeply and powerfully healing, and the world needs more of this. Many women, children and 99% of the world’s people don’t have a voice and are not seen and heard.
My calling has been a shadowy shapeless force informing and shaping my life – the elusive “thread” that has led me from social work to (of all things) marketing — as the most expedient medium for carrying out my calling.
This is not pure selfless altruism. I am very aware that this calling is also a way of validating my own voice and meeting my own yearning to be seen and heard.
Answers come in their own sweet time – sometimes late in life. But thankfully they do come, and I have my walkabout to thank for this one.