Yesterday, I wrote about Thomas Merton’s corner and found myself grateful that we can truly come to greater understanding and love in any place and at any moment. If we ponder our own life stories, I imagine we have experienced this personally with revelations both large and small.
The same is true with purpose and calling. An awareness of these can come in any place and at any moment as well. And because this is true — thankfully! — questions of purpose and calling can be asked repeatedly throughout our lives.
Over the weekend, I visited this tree. It was good to make a return to this exact spot. The tree is not anything too special to see, but I was sitting under this exact tree fifteen years ago (How has it been fifteen years. . . ? Wow. . .) when I decided that I wanted to go to seminary and eventually enter a ministry vocation.
I was a sophomore in college at the time. For the first year and a half of school, I had been a part of the Music Composition program. I had a moment of calling in high school that brought me to this too, but once I was really within the work, I realized I greatly disliked my pathway. There was nothing inherently wrong with it, and I was doing pretty well in the program. But I was always off in a practice room by myself (ahem, I’m an off-the-charts extrovert) working up some compositions, and I found myself writing music with the motivation to please my professors rather than having any personal, intrinsic motivation.
So I made a switch and changed my degree program. I loved being in music school, and I didn’t want to shift that, so I stayed there on a different pathway. But ultimately, I knew I wanted to go to seminary afterward, and that became my new goal and motivation.
I was sitting under this tree when I participated in that sense of purpose finding me. I even remember the exact date: April 2, 2002.
As I visited the tree this weekend, I noticed how many of its roots were visible — a whole lot of roots! And I found myself grateful that this decision has led me to a lot of communities and people with whom I now feel a great sense of rootedness too. There have been some ups and downs and winding roads on this journey, but I always give thanks for the places and the people.
And you know what? Those places and those people have always moved the calling along, because. . . Awareness of calling and purpose can truly come at any place and at any moment so — thankfully! — we can keep asking these questions repeatedly throughout our lives.