Answering The Call
I’m a podcast-aholic. I listen to a variety of them throughout my day. In the car, in the shower, while I’m cooking. (I don’t listen when I’m working. I’m not that good at multi-thinking.) Politics, Business, Humor, Philosophy-I tune into wide range of topics so I don’t get bored. If I’m bored, my mind wanders and generally, that’s not a good thing for me at this point.
Last week I was listening to “Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday” podcast. She was interviewing Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love and Big Magic, two books I can wholeheartedly endorse. As is always the case with both women, they covered a range of deep topics at a relatively fast pace. Some of it resonates and some of it doesn’t, but I listen intently for that one thing that does–something that makes me ponder. Probably like this blog does for many of you-some things resonate and some things make you want to yawn and take a nap. Anyway, the two of them addressed so many topics that it took two episodes of the podcast.
A common thread throughout Oprah and Elizabeth’s messages relates to people finding their authentic selves and deriving meaning from their lives. Whenever the topic of “the meaning of life” comes up, I get nervous. For up-front clarification, I totally embrace this question when it comes to being a mother of incredible kids and of being a fully-participating member of my families, but when it comes down to the meaning of MY life-my ambitions, my point, what mark I am supposed to leave behind, I get nervous. So, Oprah and Elizabeth start talking about “your calling.” About how important it is to follow your life’s calling. Apparently many people don’t follow their calling or sometimes can’t even identify it. They discussed the topic at length, always referring to it as a calling. Singular not plural.
It’s a serious thing, your calling–not to be ignored. If you ignore it, your life will be diminished-so they say. I think of a calling as a divine pull in particular direction.
I have amazing parents. They never told me what my calling should be. They just always made space for me to figure out what it was. They encouraged me to chase it. Thank God for hippie parents. So, I found my calling, in large part to the music of John Denver and the inspiration it gave me to make music and become a part of that industry. I studied it, chased that dream with a passion, and I was successful. In 1997 John Denver died. I was distraught. All my enthusiasm for the business was gone. Although he and I crossed paths over the years I spent working for RCA, we never actually worked together and that had been my calling. After a year of feeling a huge void of enthusiasm, I met Pete Huttlinger. His cause became my cause, my second calling had been made apparent. I embraced it with even more enthusiasm than I had the first calling because now I understood the depth of it. After 18 years of the most personally and professionally gratifying work, Pete died.
I honestly don’t know if a person can have a third calling. It seems that it would become diluted-the whole concept. Like a “back-up calling.” Can’t be much of a true calling if I have to keep finding new ones to replace the original ones. I can’t imagine a calling any larger or more satisfying than the first two.
And if I don’t have another calling in me, what do I do? Have you had more than one true calling?