Servant’s Heart — From the Desk of a Deacon
I am currently honoured to serve as Deacon, in the parish of St. Margaret’s, Peachland. The parish is in transition, and I have been watching, with joy, how the parishioners have stepped up to continue their worship practices and their outreach and involvement with the community beyond their doors. Many people have answered their inner call to be of service to God and to their community.
Seeing this has spurred me to do some serious thinking about that word, “call” and how we may understand it in our personal contexts. That thinking led me to read a book by Joan Chittister titled, “Following the Path.” She said some (I think) significant things about “call” and I would like to share them here.
Joan said, “Life is not a straight line, no matter how hard we work to make it so.” Joan quotes Ralph Waldo Emmerson who said, ‘Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood. We are meant to shape our souls out of the leavings of it and rich or poor, female, or male, leave this world less a statistic and more an icon to light the way for those who are to follow us. Anything else is not a life at all; it is at best, an existence’.
Joan then goes on to say, “Nor then, is a call an end point of life. On the contrary, it is only the beginning.” My call is the point at which I begin to work out in myself what I am really meant to do in life that justifies my existence, that gives me the right to have been born. A call is what we have been given for the sake of both fullness of life and divine service. It is the compilation of our natural abilities and interests, our fiercest commitments, and passions, which then become the purpose of our lives. It is that in me which makes the world a better place to be and shapes the entirety of myself as well. Finding that amalgam of gifts and circumstances in life can conceivably take years and demand multiple attempts in the process. In the end, though, it is ourselves that we will find there.
Is there more than one call? Probably not, though there are certainly variations of it along the way embedded in everything we do. Without a doubt, each of the byways on the road is a small step on the way to it. As Emerson taught, life is a “progress,” a passage through time, “not a station,” never a stopping place. It is a progression of events that leads to insight, to self-knowledge, to the direction of the home within. One experience at a time, we begin to understand who we really are and what happiness really is for us.
I invite you to listen to your inner compass, to hear to what God might be calling you. Take note of your dreams and the things that seem like coincidences. You might be surprised to find that the coincidences are actually God trying to get your attention!