So, I might not be deep enough for today’s dealy-o.
“No one knows what lies ahead, when we say yes to God.” –Jan L. Richardson
Thing is, when I read that, I thought I got it. Maybe I do. You can tell me what you think. Maybe Joan just threw me for a loop.
“I can only trust that what lies ahead will be fuller, freer, than the present. I hope for a life that is my own, that has no false chains to bind me, that allows me to move like a butterfly on the wind and to stand, when necessary, like a lioness in high grass. I want a life that is directed by the call within myself– not by an institution, not even by what looks like the care and concern of others.” –Joan Chittister
So. First impression: when you follow your gut, heart, and mind… when you say yes to the things that were meant for you, things that feel right, speak to you, then you are really living. Then you can really end up someplace amazing– the place where you were meant to be.
But then what Joan said. I don’t know. Do I get it?
Does it matter?
The message I get– that pursuing your dream, ensuring that you are following your heart, listening to God’s whispers into your soul, it’s certainly not a bad one, by any stretch of the imagination.
Joan’s just deeper than me. And that’s ok.
Want to know something super weird?
I believe that what really lights me up, paradoxically, is interacting with people.
I don’t get it. I don’t actually like interacting with people. In theory for sure and generally in practice as well. But at work, I’m noticing a theme– I’m kind of good at it.
I talked a tribal elder through saving and attaching a document to an email over the phone yesterday. It took me 45 minutes. He called again this afternoon and we chatted about his drive to Antigo this morning (90 miles south you know– it was warm down there!) and then I talked him through a doodle poll. Huge progress! He did it correctly. I somehow had infinite patience and actually enjoyed talking him through it. I’m excited for our next conference call on Tuesday, that guy is just great!
Then, right before I left for the day, my caller ID flashed Price County Health Department and rather than flinch before answering like I usually do, I picked up the receiver with gusto (I swear, it was gusto) and happily talked a woman through a survey I recently designed in preparation for a grant. She was fascinating.
Similarly, despite the crazy nerves before hand, I’ve never loved my job as much as when I ran focus groups for foster families and for BBS families. The foster care ones were in person, I actually asked a Mennonite woman if I could hold her little boy and chatted with she and her husband while I did. The BBS focus groups were over the phone and I still remember half the participants’ names and talk about them with the other investigators as though they are my friends… because I loved them. I loved working with them, talking to them, getting their perspective so very much. Loved them so much that I actually wrote this statement in an email to a program officer the other day:
Given local availability of expertise in certain rare diseases and the technological capacity to advance research via enrollment of geographically dispersed participants and provision of intervention via telemedicine, it seems unconscionable that licensure issues between states should impede the conduct of translational research for diseases that have traditionally been very difficult to study and related improvements in care.
I care so much about this stuff, I have become downright evangelical about it. (Also, I’m super proud of the email I crafted. Fingers crossed it makes a difference somehow, somewhere, someday!)
But I’m not supposed to. I’m not supposed to like it, to care so much about it that I actually speak up, because I am an introvert and introverts don’t like interacting and normally I’m text book about that sort of thing.
Maybe saying yes to God… to my soul… to the thing that lights me up… somehow turned me into an ambivert. I guess we really can’t know what lies ahead, what will make us stand up like a lioness in high grass… or maybe just a writer neck deep in telemedicine licensure mumbo jumbo.
A woman I work with said something like that to me the other day– she’s the director of our Center for Community Outreach and started out as a community social worker, dealing with issues surrounding drugs of abuse and other life-threatening concerns. I don’t remember her words exactly, but it was something along the lines of, “Our careers sort of build themselves over time if we let them, don’t they?” And she was right. Assuming our career is our passion. Or whatever our passion may be. If we let go, let God, let it take it’s course, we’ll be amazed where we end up.
Interestingly, as I reach the end of this post, I realize that the couple sentences above basically amount to a review of a great book I read recently entitled Women Healers of the World by Holly Bellebuono— every one of the woman profiled in that book, ranging from a traditional midwife practicing in rural Mexico to a princess in Iran, followed her passion, heart, soul, spirit, God, and found her way to something fulfilling in the biggest way.
I see it in my mom; teaching lights her up. The mitochondria is a siren to my friend Michele; she cannot resist it’s tiny little “powerhouse of the cell” call and it’s impossible to miss her response to that little organelle. I saw it in a friend of some friends named BeBe who described the most circuitously interesting route to WordPress so complex that I couldn’t repeat it if I tried. I heard it when my friend Jess told me how the continent of Europe basically begged her to come wow them with her regulatory knowledge. I witness it all the time in my friend Marie as she works to change the face of what it means to be pro-life. These are all people answering God’s call for their lives. And you can tell, because they glow with it.
They are butterflies on the wind. It’s quite the sight.
So maybe I do get it after all. Just took some rolling it around in my mind. Isn’t it always like that? It’s too hard, it’s challenging, it’s thought-provoking, here are my thoughts, this is what I think, how I feel, what I believe.