On Vocation

I believe that we all have fundamental vocation to somehow, somewhere, contribute to building the kingdon of God on earth.  My own search to figure out what exactly this means is the subject of this essay. 

What is Wittgenstenian, you may ask?  From what I recall, it is a way of writing – basically a numbering of thoughts that are really in no particular order anyway.  I fist learned of this style in a graduate course, The Moral Imagination, at Eastern Mennonite University.  John Paul Ledearach  was encouraging us to find creative wasy to express ourselves.  Not being a singer, an artist, or a potter, this way worked for me.

Wittgensteinian Essay

1.     My last year of college, I was in a group called the clueless seniors.  We met once a week to pray and discern our future.  This was the first time I had heard the word discernment, but certainly not the last I would engage in it.

2.     For something to be a vocation, it must:

  • Meet a need of the world
  • You must be good at it
  • It must bring you joy[1].

3.      How can the miracle of my life build the kingdom of God on earth?[2]

4.     The worst thing that can happen to a man with a plan is for that plan to happen.[3]

5.     Create your own world.[4]

6.      When your heart speaks, take good notes.[5]

7.        “Oh dearheart, don’t think of going to work in Africa.  You are such a bright girl.  Get a job with a corporation and donate – donate to those countries.”[6]

8.      The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray[7].

 9.      O God, where are you calling me?

10.      A Quaker, Ruth, imparted wisdom to a young author.  “In sixty-plus years of living, way has never opened for me.  But a lot of way has closed behind me, and that’s had the same guiding effect.[8]

11.     God’s plan for us is very much like a spotlight – he only shows us the next step.  When we take that step, his light shines on the next step.  God does not light up the whole path at once – only one step at a time[9].

12. On the shores of France I sat upon the rocks and wondered about my future.  I felt I was being called to something but I did not know what.  A gentle breeze blew and stirred my soul.

13. What do you want to be when you grow up is a great question for kids.  I feel as if I am still figuring it out.

14. Continue to do what you love, and the doors will open ahead of you.

15. My Lord God.  I have no idea where I am going.

I do not see the road ahead of me.

I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself.

And the fact that I think I am following your will

does not mean that I am actually doing so.

 I believe the desire to please you does in fact please you.

And I have that desire in all that I am doing.

I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.

And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road

though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore, I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost

In the shadow of death

I will not fear, for you are ever with me

And you will never leave me to face my perils alone.[10]

[1] A dear friend from South Africa who was repeating what her professor, Dan, had told her.

[2] Cornell West on a talk show

[3] Notre Dame professor of theology around 1969.

[4] John Knorr

[5] A wise friend

[6] Grandma Cashion

[7] John Steinbeck

[8] From Parker Palmer’s Let Your Life Speak

9 Anne Lamott

10 Thomas Merton


3 thoughts on “On Vocation

  1. A prayer for trust in God – by J. H. Newman

    God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission – I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do His work; I shall be a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it, if I do but keep His commandments and serve Him in my calling.
    Therefore, my God, I will put myself without reserve into your hands. What have I in heaven, and apart from you what do I want upon earth? My flesh and my heart fail, but God is the God of my heart, and my portion forever. 

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