Weekly Words of Wisdom
June 24, 2020
This pandemic has turned some of the ways we look at work, whether our own or that of others, upside down. In conversations with family members and friends I’ve become aware of the challenges facing us, in a variety of ways. Some have told me they are working harder than ever. Looking for a change of pace, some are trying to figure out how and when to get away. But some are not working at all and some are living on less because of pay cuts. For some, work has sped up and for others it has ground to a halt. For many, work has suffered a rupture that is desperately in need of repair. Working from home might provide flexibility but is often disrupted and interrupted, causing loss of focus and concentration, and mounting stress. For some, a feeling of repetition and monotony hangs over each day. There is no minimizing the hardships that arise beyond our control, especially when we have others to care for.
Perhaps this time of change and turmoil is offering us a chance for renewal, perhaps an opportunity to rethink our sense of vocation and what it means. To be sure, our economic employment is one facet of our vocations as our work has helped to define who we are. But at a deeper level we can understand and appreciate the concept of vocation as more than just about how we make our living. It’s about how God works through human beings to care for God’s creation. It’s about loving and serving our neighbors in our multiple stations of life. It’s about human flourishing. So if we think of work as vocation, a word that comes from the Latin word for calling, work should be something that calls to us as something we want to do, something that gives voice to who we are and what we want to say to the world.
Yes, vocation is about our spiritual yearning to be connected to something larger and truer than our own egos. It is relational. To do this we can ask ourselves what it is we like best about our work and how these practices/activities are expressions of our soul. In this deeper sense, vocation is not a goal to be achieved but a gift to be received.
I love this gift of blessing from poet, author, and former priest John O’Donohue:
“May the light of your soul bless your work with love and warmth of heart. May you see in what you do the beauty of your soul.”
Rev. Lorrie Skinner