Friday, November 30, 2012
Monday, October 1, 2012
I was struck by a stunning insight this morning that may completely redefine my sense of self and lay to rest one of my most exhausting mental struggles.
I have a vocation as a fiction writer. Of this I am certain. The call has been clear and continuous for more than 30 years, and when I stray from it, the Lord pointedly pulls me back.
And yet, I have had little success. Five published short stories. That's more than many people achieve but not what I'd hoped to accomplish. I can offer many rationalizations for the "poor" results. I have chosen intentionally to write what I'm passionate about, to explore the issues that matter to me, instead of to write for the market. Doing so has been more satisfying to my soul, but not so good for a career. While I've been writing to please my inner self, the industry has changed. More and more people are writing all the time, so the odds are something like 10,000 to 1 that a new writer will become published. For someone who deliberately bucks the marketing formulas, the odds are no doubt considerably higher.
And of course, there is the possibility that I'm just not good enough. I tend to think that isn't the case--partially because of feedback I've received on rejections and partially because I make my living as a writer quite successfully in a different field.
So I'm left with the conundrum: Why did God give me this vocation if I'm not to succeed or find the audience I crave?
I received a glimmer of a new answer this morning. I've been preparing myself to serve on a discernment committee for a dear friend who is considering becoming a deacon. For those of you not in the Episcopal or Catholic churches, a deacon is a person who is ordained to ministry but who also works at another job in the world. One of a deacon's functions is to help his or her bishop keep in touch with what's happening in the world.
Well, this morning, it suddenly occurred to me that my vocation may never have been to become a full-time professional fiction writer. Perhaps all this time, God has intended me to be a deacon writer--one who works at another job in the world, which then informs her vocation. Perhaps I'm not a case of chronically delayed success. Maybe I've been successfully living out my vocation all this time.
I've been asking God to resolve my vocational conundrum for a very long time. I'm going to have to mull over this new way of thinking for a while and see if it truly does answer my questions.
Sunday, September 30, 2012
Once upon a time, there was a great and powerful country. It was the most prosperous country of its time--in part because it was greatly blessed with resources and in part because its borders had natural defenses to the east and west. Then came a prediction of climate change and drought and economic ruin. The upper classes could have hoarded their resources to ensure their own survival. They could have congratulated themselves on their own responsibility and prudence, and let the less-fortunate die But that isn't what happened. A top advisor came up with a radical plan. The government confiscated all the food in the land and then redistributed it as there was need. And when hard times hit, everyone survived, even the despised lowest class and the foreigners who had fled to that land for safety.
Sounds uncomfortably socialistic, doesn't it? Does anyone recognize the origin of this parable?
It's the story of Joseph and how the plan that God gave him to implement saved both Egypt and the people of Israel. I've always said God is more of a socialist than a capitalist.
Sunday, June 10, 2012
Monday, April 16, 2012
Monday, March 19, 2012
Today is the feast of St. Joseph, and this morning I was listening to an online meditation based on the story of Mary and Joseph having to go back to Jerusalem to find the missing 12-year-old Jesus. And the speaker asked us to consider us consider how Joseph felt in that situation.
Suddenly, I could just imagine the panic: "OH NO! I've lost the Son of God. Now, what am I going to do? How is God going to punish me for this mess-up?"
But of course, God had the situation covered all the time.
The thought made me laugh, and it also made me wonder whether a lot of my panic isn't just as silly. It's food for thought, isn't it?