By Pastor C. S. Greene
As I sit and reflect about the seasons of spring and summer I am reminded of a wonderful small book rich with wisdom by Parker Palmer entitled, “Let Your Life Speak.” In it, Mr. Palmer speaks of vocation.
Vocation is not a job or even what one “does.” Vocation is who one is…is at the center of who one is. It isn’t about a paycheck or a title. It is about purpose and meaning. “The life I am living is not the same as the life that wants to live in me.” He writes about purposeful living…i.e. living on purpose. So, many of us exist. We wake up; we go to work. We come home; we go to bed. Repeat. We survive. We don’t stop to ask if what we are doing reflects who we are at all. We exist. We don’t live. Rarely do we stop long enough to take inventory of our soul or our spirit. Rarely do we take note of who we are. We just keep keepin’ on…grinding away.
Parker Palmer wrote, “Vocation does not mean a goal that I pursue. It means a calling that I hear. Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling the who I am. I must listen for the truths and values at the heart of my own identity, not the standards by which I must live — but the standards by which I cannot help but live if I am living my own life.”
When I first read that I literally gave myself a headache trying to figure out what on earth he was talking about. “Listen to my life telling the who I am”??? What on earth does that mean? Then one day I understood.
I had battled cancer (round two) and I was sitting on the side of the road throwing up from chemo. I sat there with service dog, Sadie Mae’s (a rottie), head in my lap crying. I had worked all my life. I started working at age 12 and had left home at age 15. I knew only one way to live…survive! On the side of that road I understood the above quote. I didn’t want to just survive…I wanted to LIVE! It was then I began to “listen” to “my life telling the who I am.” Since that day everything has changed.
I no longer do because I should, or am, expected to do. What I do, I do because it is who I am. I am and then I do. I don’t fret over what other humans think of me or talk behind my back about me anymore. I am concerned with who God says I am, who He has wired me to be. It is His life within me which drives me. I found at that cathartic moment, on the side of a road sick, in the end I only answer to God. I am the only me there ever will be. You are the only you which ever will be. How amazing is that!?
May you live the “life that wants to live in you.”