Thursday, April 21, 2011

What Makes Me Tick (getting down to my personal core)

I spend a lot of time talking intellectually about "work as a calling." But you can't really understand my enthusiasm for the topic until you understand the spiritual significance it holds for me. Of all the things I believe, there is one conviction that has been an unshakable constant in my life - palpable, bone-deep. And that is that there is a spark of divinity within me.

Not just in me, of course. I believe all humankind are literally spirit children of a loving, interested, involved Heavenly Father. That belief has been a constant attestation to me. In my darkest moments, my deepest frustrations, at the brink of despair, I look inward and feel a light of hope for which I can't take personal credit. When I have every reason to believe that I am nobody, something inside insistently reassures me that I haven't yet scratched the surface of my potential.

That assurance makes me enormously optimistic about the potential of others. I believe I am surrounded by people who have innate (often undiscovered) brilliance. Each person I meet is a God in embryo, divinely imprinted with a portfolio of gifts, talents, and predispositions as unique among humanity as are his or her fingerprints.

This fundamental belief is, of course, bound up with my faith in Jesus Christ and enlivened by the teachings of my Church (see However, I don't think people have to share my faith to embrace a vision of the vast array of potential excellences distributed throughout the human race. Eudaimonist philosophers in ancient days give us a similar account, and my agnostic friends can point to the infinite combinations of DNA as an explanation for unique human excellences.

However one arrives at the vision, I believe that everyone has a calling in life - a particular way they are suited to contribute to the world. Many of us will find expression of our gifts in the realm of work. Consequently, I have a feeling of reverence about the work people do. More than just a way to earn a buck, work can become an offering - a personal sacrifice for one's fellow man and woman. When I see people exercise their unique gifts at work, I am awestruck by the nobility of dedicated labor.

I look forward to using this blog to share insights, stories, and reflections about people who have a calling in life (and about people who are struggling to find theirs). Seeking your calling is a wonderful, trying, godly journey! Onward!

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