I’ve been thinking a lot lately about holy callings. Feeling rather adrift and bereft of inspiration in the last week or so, I pulled up Elizabeth Gilbert’s web page and clicked on the tab entitled “Thoughts on Writing.” Her words usually jumpstart my focus. She says, ” I believe that – if you are serious about a life of writing, or indeed about any creative form of expression – that you should take on this work like a holy calling.”
If a person has figured out what turns their crank – be it writing, veterinary medicine, or making waffles – that pursuit needs to be…um…pursued with laser-like focus. Someone who knows they were put on this earth to make waffles must make the waffles; he or she must become deaf to the naysayers and immerse themselves in the world of waffle batter, waffle irons, and pray at the altar of waffles on a daily basis.
Oh God, now I’m hungry…
My holy calling is writing. It is, I am certain, what I was put on this earth to do. Whether I achieve what other humans would label “success” or not doesn’t matter. The act of writing, of immersing myself in words all day long, is what brings deep happiness and satisfaction to my very core. Nothing else, not even watching my kitten sleep or eating delicious waffles, brings such contentment.
For many, many moons, I allowed myself to be dissuaded from this calling – I listened to the naysayers, I wandered down other paths that promised easy money and a posh lifestyle. Now, I clip coupons and write. I buy my jeans at the grocery store and write. I don’t eat fancy restaurant waffles. But I don’t mind. I’m doing what I was meant to do and I am willing to sacrifice a great deal to do it.
Of course I’ve read the words often enough, “Do what you love and the money will follow.” I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t mind if a stack of money appeared on my doorstep (note: stack of money should ideally be higher than stack of bills). Holy callings are often unpopular and financialy unrewarding. Elizabeth Gilbert is one of the very lucky few to have had a stack of money appear on her doorstep – after years of bartending, losing everything, and never giving up when things looked bleak.
Life likes to throw roadblocks in the way. I have a family to attend to – they need love, affection, and the odd meal. My house needs cleaning, the kitten needs feeding. I cannot closet myself in a convent and write while my world falls apart around me. What I can do is not give up. What I can do is work around everything else, write around everything else. What holy writing means (to me) is wholly writing – immersing myself in what I love – but finding a way not to drown. Drowning wouldn’t do me any good but I must jump in all the way.