“Vocation …comes from listening. I must listen to my life and try to understand what it is truly about-quite apart from what I would like it to be about-or my life will never represent anything real in the world, no matter how earnest my intentions.
“That insight is hidden in the word vocation itself, which is rooted in the Latin for voice. Vocation does not mean a goal that I pursue. It means a calling that I hear.”
These words, written by Parker Palmer in his book, Let Your Life Speak, brought on an “aha!!” moment for me. I am both a professional counselor and a life coach. One of the driving forces for me in my work is for persons to find their inner voice, their authentic self, and find words to name who they are and what they value. So, when I read how the word “vocation” and “voice” come from the same Latin word, it all made sense to me. Giving voice, one names what moves them, gives them reason for life and meaning to their being.
I know that when I was a child, probably elementary age, I knew that when I grew up I wanted to be an artist or a nurse. Do you remember what you wanted to be when you were young? So often, we can find hints of who we really are when we connect with who we were back in our childhood years. Even though I am not engaged with either of those vocations now, it reminds me that creativity and compassion and caring for others was a part of me even back then. At some point in our lives, for most of us anyway, we lose sight of who we are for what others say we are suppose to be. One of the statements in Palmer’s book suggests that the first half of our lives we strive to be the person we are told we are suppose to be, and the second half of our lives trying to reconnect with who we really are!!
So, if you ask me now what is important to me, I would thankfully still say creativity, compassion and add being genuine and having integrity. I also know that I would not have any of that if it wasn’t for the loving and often persistent nudge in my faith walk with God. I am blessed to be surrounded by a cloud of witnesses, past and present, to support, guide and remind me of this relationship with God.
So, if you were asked about your true vocation, what would you say? Are you listening to your inner voice? Who has God called you to be? What is the voice that calls you to your vocation? By listening to our voice, we do not just choose our life, we listen to the life that has chosen us and frees us to live more fully.