But It’s My Vocation!

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Last week, Foxfier mentioned vocations.  I don’t tend to use the word because it’s too fraught with religious meaning, (being a specific thing of many religions) and also fraught with the meaning of predestination, destiny, fate, and things you are “meant” to do.

It’s also fraught with crazy, because all of those invoke crazy in our culture.

There are a lot of strange thoughts in all our heads, un-examined, about vocation and “what you were born to do.”

Forgive me if these sound erratic and odd, but I’ve been up since 3 am doing preparation for minor surgery*, and there are the remnants of anesthesia in my system.  By 4 am I was actually hearing voices, awake in the sleeping house.  (Voices of people who weren’t and couldn’t be here, like younger son.  None of them saying anything earth shattering btw.  More like “oh, there you are.”) This has happened before when extremely sleep deprived, but not with that clarity, so keep in mind I’m in a semi-altered state.

In the religious sense vocation is probably easiest to define.  A vocation is a calling; specifically what G-d is calling you to do.  This removes a lot of the crazy from it, because if He created the world and knows all its pasts and futures through all its permutations and potential infinite universes, then it stands to reason that He knows what you should be doing.  If you’re a believer and He tells you you should be doing something, LISTEN.  (Of course, distinguishing if what you’re hearing is His voice, your wish, your parents’ desires and expectations, etc. is a whole other ball of wax.)

But it’s long since escaped the confines of religion to cavort the secular world.  Where it often doesn’t call itself “vocation” but “what I’m meant to” or “was born to” do. (Also many religions believe you can have secular vocations, from marriage to specific careers.)

Here’s the thing though: people often adduce to that that if you’re following your vocation, your “one true path” it’s easy.  It’s “the path of least resistance. That you’ll feel happy doing it than anything else in the world.  That it will be (a least if secular) financially rewarding, and that it’s the equivalent of following your bliss.

As someone who probably has a vocation (secular? sacred? who knows? who cares?) to do what she does, and also because misery loves company has read an awful lot of stuff about people similarly afflicted, including those with traditional religious vocations…. uh.  No.  None of the above.

Even people who in retrospect truly were called to do something, often fought with it tooth and nail; fought to make a living/stay with it.

I could say that doing it is easier than not doing it.  That’s about it.  And even then sometimes it’s “depends on what you mean by doing it.”

And rather than bringing with it bliss… well… there is a feeling to when you’re doing the thing you were born to do/feel compelled to do: it’s akin to when you are tuning a radio and finally get a station with perfect, clear, crystalline quality. It feels like you’re doing what you should be doing, that’s about it.  If you’re not, the dissatisfaction and resentment can grow and eat your life.

But no one promised you a rose garden.  Even if you think Himself above set you this task or this avocation it’s easier to think of it (also reconcile it with free will) by thinking “He set a hundred” (or a million people) “this same task, because humans are fallible and fragile.”

It doesn’t absolve me from doing the best I can.  But it means that though it’s my vocation, I might not be the most perfect fulfillment of it.  Or  might lack the luck/positioning/contacts/ personality to even reach enough people with it (if it’s something like writing.)  Doesn’t absolve me from doing it, but it means it can be a very frustrating experience as well as anything else.

But “you have a vocation” is not “follow your bliss.”  It’s more often “you drew the short straw, you luckless fool.”

And yet, if you — like me — fight against it, you just hurt yourself.  And what peace and fulfillment you get is from doing it.  Even when it’s not fulfilling in any way but psychological.

Which is when you must shut your ears to the idea that not all vocations are rational — imagine you were born to be a perfect interstellar explorer right now — and that it’s quite possible this is just a defect in your nature and hope beyond hope that there is a rhyme or reason for it and someone is keeping score.

But all I can tell you is that following your vocation hurts less than not following it.

*Hopefully it stays with this bout of minor surgery, and doesn’t become major surgery, a life-roadblock or worse.  I find out in a week.  I’m hoping for column a, because too much of my life has already been devoted to illness.

 

 

169 responses to “But It’s My Vocation!

  1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Chuckle Chuckle

    When I hear people thinking that their “calling will be easy”, I think of Saint Paul’s career. He was definitely “called” by God, but I really doubt that Saint Paul would consider his calling as an easy one (but he’d say that it was worth it). 😀

    Now Sarah, take care of yourself. We want more good stories from you. 😉

    • My mind (also) went to that passage about twice shipwrecked, beaten 39 times, imprisoned, etc.

      Also, “I have fought the good fight, I have kept the faith….”

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        Sometimes God wants us to be stubborn, obstinate jerks, and to hold to Him, truth, and good to the point that we are killed for it. I figure we should price into our expectations that we don’t know that we won’t be called to that, and we don’t know what the world will do to coerce us from the path.

    • I suspect a genuine Calling is much like a real, deep (post-)hypnotic suggestion. You can try to resist it, but eventually you find you just HAVE to do it if only to get it off the TO-DO stack.

      Estrabrooks related a story of someone who realizes that giving him a particular playing card was a hypnotic suggestion and decided he wasn’t going to do it. That was a morning or afternoon decision. Late that night the fellow showed up at his door and presented the card. That got it off the stack and let him get some sleep.

    • Or, more simply.. you just can’t NOT do it.

    • If it was easy you wouldn’t need to call people to it. People would just do it.

    • I am not sure I would describe what Paul got as a calling.  It was a great blinding smack upside the head.  😉

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Chuckle Chuckle

        We don’t know how many times G*d was “calling” him before the “great blinding smack upside the head”. 😀 😀 😀 😀

  2. It’s not that following a vocation is easy. Quite the opposite: if you have a deep sense that you’re doing what you were created to do, then you’ll persevere through all kinds of obstacles that would have made other people give up and quit. It’s not about difficulty, it’s about perseverance.

  3. Vocations remind me of what was said about true prophets – if they made you feel comfortable, they were not true prophets of G-d. A vocation “clicks” but is not easy. Especially when the Most High decides to remind you that a kick in the rump is also a step forward.

  4. Get better, Miss Sarah.

    Vocations don’t have to be religous as you said, but they still drive. The Divine One has a vocation to be a doctor. I think I have one to be a scientist: I think it’s easier to see in someone else. And it can hurt: there have been times when she’s held a dying child that it tears her apart. But she can’t stop. And it sure ain’t following no bliss.

  5. It’s also fraught with crazy, because all of those invoke crazy in our culture.

    Yep.

    Which is why I tend to use it in a specifically term-of-art inside of Catholic theology, which makes most of the crazies blow up. (Only most, but it’s an improvement!)

  6. Vocations always make me think of one of my favorite comedy routines from the Old Testament.

    “Samuel, Samuel!”
    *Sam gets up and runs to Eli*
    “Here I am, you called for me?”
    “No, go back to bed!”

    *repeat three times*

    Then Eli finally GETTING it, and telling Samuel to listen to God and find out what he’s supposed to be doing.

    It’s an important situation, but it’s also pretty dang funny….and points to the reality that humans have a kinda bad record of figuring out what Himself is saying/meaning. 😉

    • Hey, it was the middle of the night; give an old man a break!

      • Given that he was putting up with some dang kid? I was looking more at the guy who couldn’t tell Himself from an old priest!

        A bit more mystically and sentimentally, it’s kinda sweet that Eli was doing a good enough job of being like Himself that Sam interpreted God’s voice as Eli’s.

        • OTOH, the MESSAGE that the L’d A’mighty had for the boy was calling old Eli on the carpet for allowing his sons to abuse the priesthood. So there’s THAT.

          • Still a mother of a slapstick.

            • I’ve long since concluded that God has a sense of humor, and it can be a rough one. Sometimes it takes a little while (preferably under a lifetime) to get the joke and the point that’s being made.

              • I swear since the sixth day God’s favorite phrase is, “That’s gonna leave a mark.”

                From His PoV that might be the best part of human’s having free will.

        •  I am not sure I would have held it against Samuel that he did not originally recognize who had addressed him, even Paul struck down on the road to Damascus asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’  That it took Eli, the High Priest, three times to recognize the situation, confirms the opening of the chapter.  Those were times where there was little open communication with Himself.   Yes, comedic, but also very sad.

    • “favorite comedy routines from the Old Testament.”

      Never thought of it that way! Heh, heh, heh. Hit us with another one. No wait. Elijah taunting the prophets of Baal: “Speak up, maybe he’s asleep; maybe he’s on a journey.”

  7. Oh gee… Take care and we will all pull for minor surgery followed by you writing about all that you see and hear, in this dimension or another.

  8. Here’s the thing though: people often adduce to that that if you’re following your vocation, your “one true path” it’s easy. It’s “the path of least resistance. That you’ll feel happy doing it than anything else in the world. That it will be (a least if secular) financially rewarding, and that it’s the equivalent of following your bliss.

    As someone who probably has a vocation (secular? sacred? who knows? who cares?) to do what she does, and also because misery loves company has read an awful lot of stuff about people similarly afflicted, including those with traditional religious vocations…. uh. No. None of the above.

    One of the things that Mother Teresa mentioned was her “dark night of the soul.” It wasn’t a single thing, it was something that came and went.

    This woman dedicated her entire life to Himself…and there were years when she couldn’t “feel” Him there. (It’s one of those things where you either get it or don’t; I can’t describe it, but I think I’ve felt it…you’re just rock solid SURE that He is there. Usually comes as quick flashes for me, not sure about anybody else.)

    If she had really rough times, how would anybody else not?

    • Well said! I’ve heard God’s “voice” twice in my lifetime, and both times would have been met with, “You must be joking!” if it weren’t for the rock-ribbed certainty that came with it.

        • Yes, exactly. Also Really, God, do I have to? (I swear I am perpetually 13 in that relationship.)

          • Me too. What the voice of God usually says to me is, “Knock it off with all your whining.”

          • Ummm, but but but that wasn’t what I had planned on doing.

          • SheSellsSeashells

            The “voice” of God is rare for me, and only once has come in actual words. (Well. One word. It was pretty eerie.) But I can’t doubt on the occasions I *do* hear it, especially the time I made a prayer that proved I had manifestly Not Gotten the lesson I was mulling over. I swear I was met by a perfectly-parental “What did I just saaaaay?”

          • Occasionally I will make a prayer shawl knowing just who it is going to from the very start.  That has its own procedure.

            Yet I often know I am supposed to make another prayer shawl with no idea to whom it will go.  I will go to the craft store and stare at the wall of yarn hoping for a lead as to what to work with.  I find generally find a yarn that draws my attention and work with it.  

            ‘Use this for the prayer shawl.’

            ‘I don’t like it.  That yarn has orange in it.’

            I wander the store for a while and come back to see if I get another answer.  Nope.  Repeat more time wasting meandering a couple times.  Eventually I give in, buy the yarn and start on the prayer shawl.

            That weekend a friend is relating what is going on in her life.  She is back in her back brace.  It helps, but the pain has not yet subsided, but it isn’t increasing.  Still, she is having trouble sleeping, even in her recliner.  The doctors had determined that the eye surgery was unsuccessful.  They have not determined if she is a candidate for another procedure.   All the while I am looking at her jacket, perfectly suited to her.  It is patchwork with colorful embroidery — which has all the colors of the yarn. 

            ‘Oh, yes, as always You knew.’

      • The one that comes to mind is my sister.

        All of a sudden, one night when I was praying after she died, I was suddenly and absolutely just SURE she was OK.

        And I can’t shake it. I tried to persuade myself it’s a delusion, or wishful thinking or…. but no.

        I’m just flat-out SURE it’s true.

        The only other thing I’ve got that same sureness for is that God is real.

        It would be annoying, if it wasn’t such a blessing. It is irrational–not coming from reason. I just KNOW it, like you know you’ve got a hand, or you know you’re supposed to breath.

        You really CAN’T explain exactly how it feels so…well, rock-ribbed certain. It would be like denying gravity.

        • “Infused knowledge” is what they call it in Catholic theology.

        • My mother passed away just after my folk’s 50th anniversary. She had a series of mini-strokes and went fairly quickly. The day before she passed she told me she had dreamed that Big John (their first bulldog) had come to see her in the hospital.

          When I was told she had passed, I had a vision of her getting up out of her body and taking Big John’s leash, and walking off into the distance. And I KNEW that was what had happened.

          Father lasted two more years. He wasn’t happy, but he believed that even turning his face to the wall and giving up was an insult to God, so he kept on. He wasn’t really getting anywhere with his work; he was writing a scholarly book and his collaborator was ill and not getting back to him.

          We saw him just before Christmas, and he passed that night.

          All my life, if she wanted them to go somewhere (and schedule wasn’t an issue) Mother would leave him be to come in his own time…until she was convinced he was spinning his wheels. Then she would come and get him.

          When I got the call that he had passed, once again I KNEW that Mother and Big John had decided he was spinning his wheels and came and got him.

          I’m an agnostic. I’m pretty sure that all the Art I see in creation argues for an Artist, but I’m unsure of the details. I’ve met believers of one religion or another that clearly had a Call. Some Christians, a few Jews, one Muslim (who detested the Jihadis), and a Zoroastrian. I think there are a LOT of ways to be Good, and squabbling about the details about which knee goes down and where the altar is if piffle.

          But I am sure that there is a World After. And that the animals we love in life are waiting for us.

          • The night grandma died, I saw her walking through the rusty gate, and into the meadow where we used to go cut grass for the rabbits.
            The meadow is apartments now. It used to be wonderful in the spring, when I used to go with her to “help” (read make daisy chains to wear.)

            Note – I didn’t know she had died, (mom and dad hadn’t even told me she was sick so as not to worry me) but I woke from that dream and called mom in time to get her and dad JUST back from grandma’s house (five minutes walk away.)
            Second note – I’d never heard of the idea of the rainbow bridge at that time, but as grandma walked down the path towards the meadow, her long-dead cats and dogs (she had a LOT of them) came running out of the grass and woodlands on either side, and walking with her/followed her to the meadow, past the copse of trees to where a great light was shining and the lark was singing.
            Third note- I have a post written and cued to say goodbye to y’all. It was written before iffy surgery years ago. It seemed rude to leave without saying goodbye. Now it’s there, because life is uncertain and my health is weird — always — It’s called “if you’re reading this” and Dan and the boys know about it.
            I don’t know, because I can’t know, but in the best of all possible worlds, when/if that post goes up, I’m there with grandma, on the flower strewn meadow, listening to the lark and chaining daisies, and playing with all my long-lost pets. Until Dan joins me, when I’m sure we’ll find adventures to have.

        • My answer to the question “Do you believe in God?” is “I don’t dare not, because I’ve gotten a few small indications over the years and I don’t want to need a big one.”

          Most people don’t get it. But here I am, saying, “I believe in you, God, don’t let me need proof.”

      • I asked Him several years ago if I should pursue a certain girl to be my wife. The answer was “It won’t be easy.” But when I asked if it would be worth it, I got a fist-pump “YES!” We wed two years (and change) later. Both have come true.

        • I asked him for a man I could respect (unlike everyone else I’d gone out with or dated.) Not a week later, Dan and I made contact.
          I honestly, to quote Jane Austen, think I could not be happy nor honest with anyone else.

        • Likewise, I asked if I should pursue a gal, and He answered no. I tried anyway, and it didn’t work out. Things kind of fizzled out before any permanent actions ensued.
          And thanks to the magic of social media, I am so super thankful it didn’t work out.

  9. This is where the Left’s perverse ideas about religion become especially plain. They cannt imagine anyone having a Call from God who wasn’t out for number one. It just doesn’t register. They can’t conceive of it, because that is how they are wired themselves. They firmly believe they have a Call from God (or whatver higher power they admit to) to order the rest of us about, but it would NEVER occur to them to answer that Call in any manner that did not result in their maximum comfort.

    • Sadly, a lot of TV religion is all about getting wealth, health, happiness, and prosperity… just send some money.
      Even though it’s pretty clear that Christians and others who want to do the right & moral thing will run into trouble for doing the right & moral thing.

    • You remind me of a favorite bit of snark: “There are many who are willing to serve the Lord, but only in an advisory capacity.”

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      A certain author had a character who had “Special Gifts” intended to be used in a certain way. The character didn’t know how they got these “Special Gifts” but knew that if the gifts weren’t used in that certain way, then the “gifts” made the character “attractive” to the bad guys and vulnerable to the bad guys.

      IE The character HAD NO CHOICE in the matter.

      Another character hearing about this problem made a “snide” remark about he didn’t understand why Superman didn’t get rich and retire to South America. 😦

      • Amsel, Matthew

        Diana Tregarde?

        • I figured it fit with pretty much any superhero, honestly. Great power= Great responsibility, and it’s easier to sin by omission but having great power makes active sin easier, too.

          To the point where I had to shut my brain off about the “So, was this said TO Superman, directly, or was the comment about obviously-fictional-Superman, or was it one of the Justice League….?”

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            I thought the author’s comment was a sneer at Super-Heroes and I don’t want to get into a fight with any fans of that author here.

            But yes, while I dislike the “meme” that so-and-so Super-Hero is “always right”, I can also accept the idea that a person with “special gifts” would want to use those gifts in the service of society.

            The recent Wearing The Cape novel has Astra/Hope giving a speech to super-powered High School students on the concept of arête, the ancient Greek concept of realizing our full potential in the service of our community.

            I thought that speech was one of Marion Harmon’s best writing.


            • Societies are strong when old men plant trees in whose shade they shall never sit.

            • FWIW, if I were writing Disposable Side Character, I’d say that to Batman. 😀

              • Lets just say that Bats and I would have a fundamental disagreement after I told him he was an assessory to murder for NOT killing the Joker.

                • /sigh

                  You and me both, hon.

                  As long as he doesn’t actually stop anybody from killing the Joker, we’re OK, but….

                • Thing is, in Real Life(tm), the Joker would not be out on the street every other weekend. He’d be in Arkham Asylum, and he’d be *staying* in Arkham Asylum. The ability of supervillains to constantly show up on the streets after being arrested is good for comic book sales, but bears little resemblance to how things work in real life – particularly when characters without any powers are involved.

                  • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                    Worse, Joker isn’t Legally Insane.

                    • “Then the Law is an Ass.”

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      The Law may be an Ass but the comic book writers are ignoring the real law on “Legal Insanity”.

                      IE Joker would be judged Sane by any Real World experts and could be executed for his crimes (assuming that he commits his crimes where the Death Penalty is actually used like Texas).

                    • Exactly.  (At least in most incarnations of the Joker.)  

                      The Joker is aware of what he is doing.  He knows that what he does is against the law.  He is capable of exercising self-control, but chooses not to obey the law.  You can have very serious mental issues without being Legally Insane

                  • But that does make the fan theory that Bruce Wayne is the crazy one locked up in Arkham. Dr. Joe Kerr comes by every week to check on his patient, which means that the Batman has to keep fighting him.

                  • The Joker, in most states, would be on Death Row for multiple premeditated murder. It is more of an indictment of Arkham City and its state that he is not.

                    Batman is only a very capable vigilante who is careful to stop short of irreparable acts.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      It is more of an indictment of Arkham City and its state that he is not.

                      Agree.

                      However, it’s Gotham City not Arkham City. It’s Arkham Asylum that Joker is always escaping. 👿

                    • It’s an indictment of comic books in general, though The Joker is easily one of the worst of the lot.

                  • BobtheRegisterredFool

                    I think someone I distantly know escaped the mental hospital inside a week of being confined. They are probably fairly dangerous.

                    Which is why we need common sense summary execution laws. XD

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  Nah, the laws of any sane state would not consider Joker “Legally Insane” so Joker would have been executed decades ago.

                  Humm, maybe that’s why Joker hasn’t set up shop in Texas. 😈

                  • Isn’t Gotham City supposed to basically be New York? Probably explains all the supervillains running around and setting shop there.

                    And perhaps even why Bats doesn’t kill. Who knows, maybe he’d like to, but doesn’t dare due to the prevalent attitudes of his home city. He might not be able to function there as well as he does if he was actively hunted by the authorities and unpopular with half of the residents due to ideological differences.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Yes, Gotham City is New York City (NYC has been called City of Gotham for decades).

                      Batman “not killing” was established early in comic history even when the death penalty was common in the US and New York City.

                      However, I think there is very good reasons that masked (or costumed) vigilantes should not kill criminals (except for clear cases of self-defense).

                      Vigilantes operate outside of the Law and thus aren’t under the valid legal restrictions that law enforcement operates.

                      In situations (like Batman) where there’s a clear association between the vigilante and regular law enforcement, the Law would see the vigilante as an agent of law enforcement thus bringing the law enforcement organization to be seen as an accomplice to whatever illegal actions taken by the vigilante.

                      Even if Gotham City did execute criminals, Batman killing the criminals would be rightly seen as illegal actions and the Gotham City Police would rightly viewed as Batman’s accomplice.

                      For an interesting read, see “The Law of Superheroes” by James Daily and Ryan Davidson.

            • but, but, but … their are all kinds of people with super powers running around looking out only for themselves. using their powers to enrich themselves.
              I was under the impression that we called them supervillions

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                That’s how that author seemed to see people with “super powers”.

                IE Without an external reason to “do good”, they’d be selfish.

                Yes, some people with “super powers” would go “bad” but like real people, others (and perhaps the majority) will do “good” because “that’s the kind of people they are”.

                • Thus showing she totally missed the boat on Superman.

                  Doesn’t matter where he came from. He *IS* a Kansas farm-boy. Like my grandfather.

                  • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                    She is a Liberal and knows that “fly over country” (like Kansas) is full of selfish idiots. 😦

                    • BobtheRegisterredFool

                      Saw something similar on a blog today. Discussing the black Superman rumor.

                      Commenter was all ‘but maybe they have to make him no longer from Kansas, because growing up Black is so scary in rural America.’ As opposed to rural America perhaps being one of the better places, because of avoiding most of the mess around inner city poverty. Plus, Pete from the Smallville TV show. I know that anything that happened twenty years ago is a figment of the imagination, but I wonder if some people might have their heads up their asses.

              • They usually do a really cruddy job of it, though.

            • Villains have more fun

    • They’re okay with a Call from God, provided they get to be the cult leaders.

  10. *head desk*

    Last week’s readings.

    “Take up your cross, and follow me.”

    Father Social-justice-no-really-the-Catholic-type-but-don’t-take-him-to-buy-a-used-car* pointed out on Sunday, the cross isn’t JUST a horrible thing. IT’s the thing Jesus wants you to do because it’s the right thing for meeting up with Him.

    * as opposed to Father Hippy, Father Smarmy SJW, Father Earnest Newguy, Father Boatperson, and Father Earnest Stubborn. All except for Smarmy are, I think, loyal priests. Smarmy I wouldn’t leave alone with one of our cats, and I can’t put a finger on why. It MIGHT be faulty issue detection, but…. yeah, there’s a reason I use no names, besides that I’m terrible with them.

    • *grin* “Father Earnest Newguy sounds like the parish priest in _Grand Torino_. Very well meaning, very sincere, but, ah, in need of a little exposure to the realities of the World and what men must do at times.

      • If you go a lot less dramatized for screen, and more philosophical differences– say, the idealized version of why illegals come to the US, vs on the ground observations, and balancing the hard core criminals from the wanting to improve vs the truly desperate– that’s a pretty good summary of him.

      • Father Boatperson was a refugee. Found out when he invited folks to the Rosary For Our Country on the Independence Day eve. 😀 (Also brought my husband back to the Church, so I can’t be rational about him. NIce guy.)

        I somehow forgot Father Mini-Samoan. Couldn’t really pin down his style…other than actually snagging a guitar from one of the guys doing music and walking around using it like a ukulele for some of the sermons….

        • Last Parish,before we got Father Che and I walked: Father Black Adder (no, really), Father Biker (part of a heaven’s riders “gang” with a rabbi and two protestant ministers. You’d see them go by your car on the highway and smile.) and Father Kenyan who was incomprehensible over amplifier but the BEST confessor.

        • At the UofA’s Newman Center while I was there we had Father Pilot, he grew up in Poland before the Fall (of Communism) and wanted to be a Fighter Pilot as a little boy, the wall paper on his computer was an old Polish MiG-17.

          During his term at UofA he took his Oath of Citizenship.

    • We went to a church with a) Pastor Civil Rights (semi good, but very quick to anger), b) Pastor Wanna-Be TV Evangelist (medium awful) and c) Pastor Eli’s Son (while thinking he was Samuel. Sigh).

      That church is gone. Started with services of 30, and in 5 years, dropped to 5-6 in attendance. It bounced along the bottom for a couple more years, then closed. An independent church bought the building from the synod, and seem to be doing OK. Too much of a social club for my taste, though..

    • My mom has made reference to various priests on social media as Father this-or-that so as to keep specifics under wraps. I think my favorite was Father Ice Cream, which is a reference that only makes sense to locals (as his family started and maintains one of the two excellent local ice cream shops.)

      I’m not sure what we’d call my local priests. Possibly one would be Father Mystery-of-Face, because his accent makes “faith” sound like “face”, which is a bit odd, and the assistant would be Father Soccer, since he was on the priests-vs.-seminarians soccer game poster.

      • right now we have Father Goofy and Father Swedish Chef. Yep, they’ve started handing out sheets for his sermons, but you know… the dang man improvises.

        • That reminds me, we’ve also got Deacon Singing Pun. Only does homilies once a month, but he always starts them off with a song snippet.

          • Father Pilot, I mentioned above, also has the distinction of being a Catholic priest who’s surname is a homophone for the title of the founder of a major Eastern religion. Jokes and puns were made. Lots of them.

      • Literally first time we got him, older son slowly tilted towards me and whispered in my year “The swedish chef is in holy orders?”
        My ensuing whoop of laughter got me a glare from husband and shock from people around me.
        But it so perfectly encapsulated my feeling that I’d not put into words.

        • 😆😆😆

          There was one time that we were watching a production of Hamlet and my mom leaned over to whisper that the guy playing Claudius looked just like a Muppet. He did, too. Undermined the whole feel of the play. (It’s a tragedy! You’re not supposed to be giggling!)

  11. There’s also the call of Jeremiah the Prophet*, who was called by God, and told that pretty much nobody was going to listen to him.
    But, that’s a calling for you. It’s never promised to be happy or easy.

    *Distinct from Jeremiah the Bullfrog

  12. BobtheRegisterredFool

    It seems pretty clear that I have some gifts that are not given to very many people.

    I infer that there is a purpose that I am supposed to use them for.

    What that purpose is, I do not know. As is usual for me, I have multiple models, many of which conflict.

    Was I supposed to have rejected something I have embraced? Is it that I’m not good with God? Is it my laziness?

    I’m definitely crazy. Even if I were on the correct path, and God were telling me so, I would distrust it. Because I know I should not excessively trust what my internal state is telling me.

    Right now the thing I need to do is get back on task.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Also, some of what I want to convince myself is my calling has some pretty strong evidence that my drive for it is my worst nature, calling me to sin.

    • You obviously have a great skill for seeing more than one side– and arguing it effectively. That’s empathy, and rationality; maybe look into some of the stuff the Jesuits do?

      You definitely need to find a lodestar– a true north, a guiding light– and test everything, holding on to what is good.

  13. I don’t think I have a calling or vocation. What I do have is the certainty that there is one specific action God does not want me to take.

  14. This very thoughtful conversation today confirms my strong belief in gilgul (reincarnation): There can be no way that anything so deep and complex as a human soul can complete all its tasks and development in just a few short decades. And yes, it’s not supposed to be a walk in the park.

    • “Gilgul” means reincarnation? In Mage: The Ascension, it refers to a powerful magical effect that permanently destroys a mage’s immortal soul and magical powers. That seems like they were giving it nearly the reverse meaning. . . .

    • The huge philosophical thing that bothers me about reincarnation is that it negates evil. So a guy kills a kid, that just means the kid reincarnates sooner, so no big deal, no real harm done. Abused in this life? Doesn’t matter, you’ll get another life.

      Maybe you have a more satisfying take on that?

      • “The huge philosophical thing that bothers me about reincarnation is that it negates evil.”

        Not any more than the idea of Heaven does. How many crimes have been excused with the idea of “So-and-so’s in a better place now” or “It was really for the best because they’re with God.”

  15. Sarah, just FYI, better half had audio hallucinations as a side effect of Dilauda that they gave her for pain once. She sure didn’t mistake them for messages from HS or the Big Guy.

    • I didn’t take that.
      I thought my hallucinations were just that,from dehydration and lack of sleep. (Dehydration SO BAD it’s still affecting me.)

      • Pretty common to have simple auditory dreams when overtired, but not relaxed enough to let yourself sleep. Your brain forces microsleep, and then the voice dream wakes you up. If you think you are awake, it comes across as an auditory hallucination.

        Disconcerting. Not very restful.

        • Family friend has pets named for computer game characters.

          Elf got much amusement from me demanding he ask friend if “Zelda” was OK, because he doesn’t have a Zelda. But I very clearly heard Elf tell me Zelda was dead when I set up.,.. half an hour after Elf went to work. And nobody has a voice a third as deep as Elf!

  16. I’ve had two callings: the first, a draft notice; the second, my reassignment to missiles. Worked out pretty well for me.

  17. My vocation appears to be hyperdrive mechanic. I’ve tried everything else, at this point.

    • I hear ya; I’ve said that my experience is a mile wide and an inch thick (although that’s not quite correct nowadays). Keep on trucking; there’s a rock band that needs you to play guitar out there somewhere.

  18. Christopher M Chupik

    It’s okay to take a day off, Sarah. You’ve got guest posts (including one of mine).

  19. Oh, I can talk about vocations. I knew, from a young age, that my future lay in flight test. I had making astronaut as the ultimate goal, but that road goes through either Edwards or Pax River.

    I didn’t make it to the Cape, but am finishing my 38th year as a flight test engineer. And with all due humility, a good one. I’ve done things that are the stuff of dreams – ran the first flight of a multi-billion dollar program, taken an aircraft on its first operational deployment. You’ll forgive me if I omit details…otherwise I may as well sign my full name.

    But it didn’t come cheap. Five years of college, beating my head against every math course. Four years attempting to get into Test Pilot School, then surviving THAT. (The acceptance letter flatly tells you to make out your will). Assignments that had me living out of a suitcase two weeks out of three for five years. Other assignments that gave me the dubious pleasure of working weekends, second shifts, and 16-hour days.

    I really should have picked another vocation…but you don’t pick them as much as they call you.

  20. One of the English philosophers (Hobbes? Locke?) wrote that any man may say that God has spoken to him, “but he obligeth no man to believe him, who (being a man) may err, and (what is more) may lie.” I think that’s a good summary. Independent evidence is needed to check that what you truly feel is actually true.

  21. Right now my calling is pointing my away from Linux and towards OpenBSD or Dragonfly BSD.

    • William Newman

      Calling, sign, whatever. (Call sign?)

      from http://www.gutenberg.org/files/2439/2439-h/2439-h.htm :

      The dismission of the two brothers is a great epoch in the reign of James. From that time it was clear that what he really wanted was not liberty of conscience for the members of his own church, but liberty to persecute the members of other churches. Pretending to abhor tests, he had himself imposed a test. He thought it hard, he thought it monstrous, that able and loyal men should be excluded from the public service solely for being Roman Catholics. Yet he had himself turned out of office a Treasurer, whom he admitted to be both loyal and able, solely for being a Protestant. The cry was that a general proscription was at hand, and that every public functionary must make up his mind to lose his soul or to lose his place. Who indeed could hope to stand where the Hydes had fallen? They were the brothers in law of the King, the uncles and natural guardians of his children, his friends from early youth, his steady adherents in adversity and peril, his obsequious servants since he had been on the throne. Their sole crime was their religion; and for this crime they had been discarded.

      (See also various other meditations on common knowledge and on the practical political differences between limited versions like “I know you know” and “I know you know I know” on one hand, and full-blown “everyone knows” (or “it [is] clear”) on the other.)

    • Sigh. Since Linus is wavering under pressure from the SJWs, I’m scouting alternatives too.

      FOAD was all the “terms of conduct” the kernel developers needed for a quarter century.

      • ESR, 3 years ago:
        http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=6907
        ===
        ESR: “The short version is: if you are any kind of open-source leader or senior figure who is male, do not be alone with any female, ever, at a technical conference. Try to avoid even being alone, ever, because there is a chance that a “women in tech” advocacy group is going to try to collect your scalp.”

        NameRedacted: “Linus is never alone at any conference. This is not because he lets fame go to his head and likes having a posse around. They have made multiple runs at him.”
        ===
        See also the last few comments (new) on that page, and the links (and links to links) of archived posts. This might not be the end today, but now… it’s coming.

        And just when I’d finally found a distro I can live with….

        • There’s Debian-over-BSD, if you’re okay with Debian.

          For some reason that distribution always rubbed me the wrong way, though.

      • scott2harrison

        I will also be looking for an alternative. Preferably one that is actively hostile to Progressives.
        Further I am considering designating LGBQ… and snowflakes of other sorts as evil scum (not just crazy) and treating them as such.
        This is a huge loss. If anyone here runs in those circles, can they tell the tale of how and who with as many details as possible. It is time to misbehave.

    • Saw the hoorah about Linus and the new code of conduct, eh? 😦

    • Gee, I wonder if we can get a fork from this point forward…. 😦

  22. I can relate to the voices! A week of them while recovering from quad-bypass surgery. Sedatives, pain meds, blood thinners, etc will play wonderful games with your senses.Sit back and enjoy the show.
    Very few people in the world get a chance to pick a vocation. Very few. Those that are lucky enough to have access to choices are restrained in others ways, like family need, money, right place.
    We should feel extremely fortunate that we got the chance and the opportunity.

  23. “And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will”

  24. God doesn’t want you for the easy stuff. Plenty of other people for Him to give those jobs to, who will find them difficult enough that they’ll actually grow, a little, while doing them.

    Seems to me that God is training us for something with all the trials and tribulations we go through in life. And He takes us when we’ve either reached His goals for us, or He decides we’re not getting it and we have to do it over again.

  25. But It’s My Vocation!

    You* keep using that word. i do not think it means what you think it means.

    *You is employed here in its generic third-person personal pronoun form, not as a second-person remark addressed to Sarah. I am quite confident Sarah knows the proper meaning of the word and I hope she can manage to fit in a three-week vocation ere long.

  26. It’s not so much you choose a vocation, as one chooses you. “This job has to be done, and nobody else is doing it, so I guess it falls to me”. No one ever promised that that kind would be an *easy* job.

  27. Geoff Withnell

    I realized shortly after the Marine Corps put me in Quality Control/Assurance that this was my vocation. They did it because I have incredible pattern recognition. Defects leap out at me like the Dalai Lama in his robes at a black tie dinner. But that wasn’t the real reason. The real reason is I am an obstinate SOB who will not stopping calling a spade a spade, no matter what the incentives or consequences. I’ve been “fired” twice because I refused to sign off on dangerous defects. Was “rehired” without loss of continuity the next day in both cases when TPTB figured out what was going on. How many lives get lost typically before a product recall gets initiated? I saved that many people. I was told once by a production foreman that just found out I wasn’t going to let something slide “Withnell, you are a son of a bitch. But at least you are a professional son of a bitch.” So having a vocation hasn’t been easy. Incredibly satisfying yes, easy, no!