Archive for October 8th, 2018

Vocation

October 8, 2018

I’ve been binge-listening to Harry Potter and the Sacred Text podcast, it is THE BEST.

(Thank you, Tara)

There is a great story during the live show recording for Book Three, Chapter 17 – (Prisoner of Azkaban, “Cat, Rat, and Dog”) told by guest Scott Perlo, which you can listen to here starting at 40:11. It brought me to tears with the idea of whatever it is you do, do with all your heart and do it with joy and love, even if it’s being a thief.

I was re-telling it to my husband, about how I was hearing this message while my hands were at work mixing oatmeal with honey and dried berries and lots of other stuff for granola bars, and I wondered if this was it; this is the thing I’m meant to be pouring my energy into. This work of child-rearing. I don’t think it is the whole of the thing. But it is a good part of the thing.

When we think of vocation, do we think of One Thing?

When I was a teenager, I never thought of my life in terms of a career. I think now that that’s in part due to my evangelical upbringing, where as a girl I was never encouraged to think of myself as a future professional in some field. I was encouraged to go to college, but nudged only towards being a high school English teacher or a missionary (maybe to Russia! That was what my dad wanted). I was encouraged to envision my future as supporter and helper of my husband.

And that’s actually a good percentage of what I’m doing now. Some tiny part of my feels a little bit of relief, that just maybe in case everything I was taught as a child turns out to be true after all (it’s a very tiny bit of me that thinks this) then I’m safe, then I’m doing the right thing. Cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, homework help, doctor’s appointments, haircuts, organizing the carpool and after-school activities… so that my husband can work 3 jobs and financially support us while making the world a better place… and most of the time it actually feels really good. I feel like I’m doing the right thing.

But is this my vocation? I also never saw myself as being solely a “homemaker.” I’ve always felt a strong sense of having a role to play in, well, making this world a better place, somehow. And not just by raising kids but more directly. This was my guiding light through years of doing community development, non-profit, and social service work. Even my PhD work had this notion of influencing people to think differently about immigrants and refugees, to deepen our understanding of what welcome means, what incorporation means. So now I have hours of unstructured time at home, because the work of raising the kids does not take all day, and I don’t have a job. They go to school, and I have help with the housework. So I’ve been writing. But I haven’t been diving in with the same full abandon with which I’ve given myself to work I’ve done in the past. It feels… tentative. And I’m not sure what that means.

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