Sometimes I think that the world is a puzzle and each of us is a piece. Only we can fill our place in it and without us the puzzle is incomplete. To find that place and fill it is what I believe is our call.
It is strange to me to realize that I have written this blog for so long and not talked about this foundation of my belief system.
I would reinterpret Buechner just a little and say we too hunger. Many try to fill this deep need, this sense of emptiness, of something missing, with things, with drugs, with busyness. But I think he is right that when we find our call, when we experience filling that gap in the puzzle, we feel deep gladness and peace. The unique place shaped just for us is created by the world’s hunger for the personal gifts only we can bring, and our own need for fulfillment.
I think there may be sections of the puzzle where we best fit and that we may possibly fit in different places in different parts of our lives. But while I know the world is depending on all of us to share our gifts with it, I also know that many struggle with finding, accepting, and using their gifts.
As I wrestled with my own hunger and looked for ways to fill it I thought about areas where I might fit: Justice, (I considered becoming an attorney, others might do this as police officers, community champions, whistleblowers, politicians (I wish!) etc.), Truth, (I thought I might do this as a journalist), Knowledge (I would be a teacher but researchers or even engineers might fit here or specialists in any area), and ultimately the one I embraced was Service, (I became a Social Worker, but this calling is diverse.) I think for me that was my perfect fit because it had multiple elements. Other callings I can envision are Beauty/Creativity, (a fit for artists, poets, innovators), Health, and the biggest of them all, Love. You might know or find other areas or categories of calls.
I don’t think a call requires you be in a specific occupation though that can make it easier to fulfill. Many fulfill their call or calls through avocation, or through using their gifts in harmony with their call in multiple areas of their lives. I truly believe calls are as various as we all are.
One of the life shaping experiences for me was reading “Man’s Search for Meaning,” by Viktor Frankl, a psychotherapist and Holocaust survivor. Having lost everything defined by the world as success, (money, power, position) those in the camps who survived, he said, did so by finding meaning even in the midst of their suffering. That meaning became a call, a purpose to living that enabled survival in the midst of horror. It provided hope. Someone said of Frankl that his meaning in life, I would say call, was to help others find their meaning.
I’d like to believe that I have followed Frankl, at least in part, though perhaps not as deeply as he. In my social work years some of what I saw as my purpose was to seek to be a “keeper of hope” for those who had lost theirs. I could not change their lives, only they could. But I could maintain a belief in them, see them in a positive light and present that to them, envision a new beginning until they could once again hope and see a future for themselves. That is how I saw my call.
So now you know the deepest part of me. Since this is an underlying principle in my life, it is the grounding of my book as well. I hope someday you will get to read it. But my biggest hope is that you have found or will find your own call. There are too many missing pieces in our world. And if you are still looking, don’t give up. There is a place of meaning only you can fill….and I believe you’ll find it. Related articles
- The world’s deep hunger … #Quote 149 (juliannaricci.wordpress.com)
- 10 Inspirational Quotes about Following God’s Will (adreamerswife.com)
- Lessons from Victor Frankl’s ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ (swifth.wordpress.com)