Theologian Frederick Beuchner defines vocation as “the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.” Which I love. Because it reminds us that there is a need in this world that only we can fulfill. And our joy points us in the direction of that specific need.
But why is it that some of us find ourselves at a place in life where we’re working jobs that don’t tap into that deep gladness? Why is it that we would choose work that, in fact, does the opposite and takes the joy from us? Because it happens. A lot.
Parker Palmer illustrates the reason why in the beginning of his book, The Hidden Wholeness: A Journey Toward an Undivided Life. Apparently in the olden days, at the onset of a blizzard, farmers would tie a rope from their house to the barn. So in case of a white out, they’d be able to find their way home. It wasn’t uncommon for people to get so disoriented during a bad blizzard that they would lose sight of their house and perish in the storm.
Terrible to think about I know. But how many of us are experiencing the exact same thing in our lives right now? We’ve ventured out into the storm of life and somehow lost our rope. Our connection to home. We’ve departed so far from our truest nature, from the inner knowing we arrive on this earth possessing, and we’re struggling to find our way back?
We go through life, never quite understanding why we’re here, not realizing that the answers are right in front of us. Hidden beneath expectations, obligations, and ego. The blizzard, as Parker Palmer puts it, “swirls around us as economic injustice, ecological ruin, physical and spiritual violence… fear and frenzy, greed and deceit…” Each of us faces quite a lot in our daily lives.
And this to me is the real tragedy of life. Allowing these outside forces to obscure our path to real joy and instead, living on the periphery of the greatness within.
I’m no expert but I have been there. I lived through years of confusion, blinded by the storm, not knowing what I was meant to do. Then finding out, but not yet having the confidence to believe in my calling. So I realize it’s a process. Answers may not come over night but they do come. And my desire to share what I’ve learned thus far is my attempt to throw you a rope. To help guide you back to your homeland where the world so desperately needs you to be.
So where are you at on your journey? What questions do you have about where you’re at right now? Is there something you’re dying to do but haven’t yet? I love to hear your comments so do share. :)