To spare you the 946 pages of “light reading” that I have currently embarked upon (PHP and MySQL Web Development, if you must know), I thought I’d offer up a tidbit drawn from a conversation with a friend. She was talking about the adolescent fiction that one has a True Calling, like a One True Love, after which one is never tempted again.
I responded that I do believe in callings. I just don’t think they should be confused with careers. A calling, at least the way I think of them, is something that is such a natural part of you that giving it up is simply impossible. A career is just what you do for a living. Ideally, a career should reflect one’s calling, but they are not the same.
I have a calling to create. Where I am happiest is in pursuit of my Muse, when making something – virtually anything will do. That calling expresses itself in fiber arts, in writing, in making Websites, in a thousand different ways that are as integral to my being as breathing. The particular expression may vary, but the calling never does.
Others among my friends have a calling to question, to analyze. They make great scientists because their minds naturally work that way. But it’s not just about science. Another of my friends has the same calling, which he expresses physically: he’s an auto mechanic. That kind of analysis comes naturally to him, and he wouldn’t be happy without it.
I suppose you could classify callings as personality types, but I think there is a deeper, more spiritual part of it than that. When I was in my twenties, a young woman whom I’ll call Charity gave me this poem. In essence, it says that we are called to become ourselves. This is considerably more subtle than the tautology it appears on the surface – our fundamental calling is to nurture and express who we are. In doing that, we reveal our “true” callings.
Unfortunately this is of little help to most early-twenties musers (which was the last time I took up the question) . Callings don’t appear and inform you of their existence in bold type; it took me a good thirty-odd years to really understand my calling, even after it was obvious to everyone else. But since then I have tried to rearrange my life around it, to give rein to my creativity and try to incorporate it into all parts of my life. Difficult sometimes, since I was brought up to analyze everything and thus sometimes have difficulty getting in touch with the more nonverbal, inchoate side of creativity. But a Muse is a Muse, and I treasure mine.
I’ll finish (since I do have to get back to that 946-page text) with another of my favorite quotes. A friend gave it to me back when I was in my early twenties and I have treasured that card ever since.
The most visible creators I know of are
those artists whose medium is life itself,
the ones who express the inexpressible
– without brush, hammer, clay or guitar.
They neither paint nor sculpt – their medium is being.
Whatever their presence touches has increased life.
They see, and don’t have to draw.
They are the artists of being alive.
– Anthony Morrocco
Have fun, and I’ll see you next time!