Back in the archaic days of landline phones, we used to get a lot of solicitors at my house. Unlike most people trying to eat their dinner in peace, I found great joy after spotting company’s name on the caller id. “Wallside Windows” it read. “Hello, this is Wallside Windows, how may I help you?” I chirped into the phone. The confused salesman would mutter something about an extension problem and then hang up on me. Reverse prank calling was my favorite.
Going to a Christian college, the word “vocation” was thrown around like candy at a small-town parade. You don’t need a job, you need a calling. A divine purpose. Which is great and definitely makes the job search process just as painful. 4 months out of college, and I’ve started to wonder. Did God just prank call me?
It’s the only logical answer to our little carefully laid plans starting to crumble. The 5 year-plan just became the plan for only 5 days and the dreams might be clearer but the steps to achieving them just disappeared.
But I just can’t believe that. I don’t think God calls us to one place or job just as a joke. I don’t think that we know our final “vocation” or “calling” at 21 or 22. It doesn’t mean that the stints before figuring that out (shout out to my non-peers: do you ever figure that out?) are any less valuable, purposeful, or ordained by God.
The next time we’re tempted to slam down the phone when it feels like “calling” just slid through our fingers again, think again. God has us here (or in your case, there) for a reason which we may or may not figure out and our God does not want to know if your refrigerator is running.
The very first word that I spoke as a 9-month-old wasn’t so much a word as it was a phrase:
Evidently, I skipped over the basics of “Mom” “Dad” “Sis” and “ball” and went straight to informal greetings. And I’ve been introducing myself every since.
I met my wonderful and recently wedded friend by randomly introducing myself at a Swing Club because she vaguely looked like a girl from high school that I didn’t even know that well but the “soul rejoices in the familiar.”
I met my recently wedded husband by introducing myself in line for a freshman informational meeting because, hey, he was cute, in my Old Testament class, and clearly interested in leadership. Can you say spiritual leader spouse material?
Don’t worry, I just thought he was cute at the time.
A few weekends ago, I headed back east to see that dear friend get married. Waves of nostalgia and longing rushed over me as I gazed over neat fields of Lancaster corn and farms. Was it really last summer that I lived and loved here? Why did we move to California?
I was caught between two Lands of Lonely. In Pennsylvania, I was with friends and families and humidity and all things home reminiscent. Yet I was separated from my forever love. At the same time, I dreaded returning to So Cal with all work and very little play and no friends. I started regretting all our decisions–except the marriage one.
But as I re-crossed the country for the 3rd time in two months, I realized that I’ve been looking for the wrong things. I’m searching for my childhood and college friends amidst strangers.
I’m going to stop searching for my past in the present.
No climax is reached in an instant. This choice to start living again wasn’t an arbitrary decision, although it felt like it at the time.
It was being questioned about my faith and the novel concept of reading a book for edification and the Friendly Freshman and a homework assignment about vocation, and walking in physical and verbal circles with a friend, and remembering that I do actually love people and want to spend time with them as a result.
It was the devotions at SGA and calling sin what it is and a new insight into the relating of our time here and finally getting tired of hiding in my sleep.
It was a decision to grow and a few too many times of getting taken away by a mysterious train and finally getting the control of the plane off of auto-pilot. It was a screeching door alarm and exams getting moved and inconsistencies and someone always waking me up and realizing that none of that mattered at all. It was the decision to be happy when I truly was and the relief of not having to pretend to be happy to cover up the stress I wasn’t experiencing.
It was the realization that not only can I change, that I should be changing and mere survival has never been my preferred mode of life. It was recognizing that I have failed the people that I love the most but they are still here with me regardless. That I have so many improvements to make to be the person I could and should be by God’s directive and standards.
It was running until I thought I was going to die and listening to the same three songs over and over again and finding a healthy apathy about the things that don’t matter and an equally nutritional passion for the things that actually do.
It was changing the overwhelming need to be anywhere else to the desire to be here. It was a failure of cognitive dissonance and no longer having the patience to wait for my thoughts to catch up with my behavior.
It is mind over matter and living again.