4.03.2012

A to Z: Callings

I am married to a midwife.  If that isn't a calling, I don't know what is.  She works harder than almost anyone I know - her hours are long and unpredictable, and she is always on call.  She is quite literally responsible for people's lives, and so the work is stressful, hard on her body, hard on her mind.  Sometimes she goes days without sleep.  I don't know how she does it; I never could.

But it is so clearly her calling.  She catches babies.  She ushers other human beings into the world.  With her hands.  I am in awe of her every time I think about it.

Frederick Buechner describes a calling as "the place where your deepest gladness meets the world's deepest need."

I tell stories.  It is my deepest gladness.  And I believe the world needs stories.  Stories teach us how to live; they insert us into complex moral situations and help us think our way out.  They act as an escape valve.  They allow us to imagine, and reason, and reflect, and change.  They have existed for all recorded time, and they persist.  They fill something in us that can't be filled in any other way.  We need them.


And so storytelling is my calling.  It is not quite so impressive as helping new life into the world, admittedly, but I think it reaches toward the same primal instinct: to live.  To carry forth.


I feel called.  Do you?



One month.  26 posts.  A to Z.  (Don't know what I'm talking about?  Check out the Challenge here.)

14 comments:

  1. Wow on the life of a midwife. I can't imagine a more blessed service than to be there for women at that time. (Well, okay, there's the guy who hooks up your cable, but he ain't exactly on call after midnight, is he?)

    And love that quote.

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    1. Hmm. What this tells me is that we should really have more people on call at midnight.

      But seriously folks. Yes, it's a CRAZY job. And an awesome one. And I'm glad I don't have to be the one to do it. :)

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  2. Wow, a midwife. You're right, that's a calling, not something somebody just stumbles into. It's a lot of emotionally draining AND fulfilling work -- When it comes to babies, it sure seems like they're a lot easier to get in there than to get out...

    But look -- all she does is facilitate with a natural process. YOU'VE got to create life out of thin air; to manipulate words and images and emotions and plot and character and backstory and description and dialogue and so much more and give it meaning and impact; to reach out and connect with the inner souls of people you may never get to meet.

    No disrespect, but catching babies? Pffftt... Child's play in comparison...

    ;^)

    (Great C post, by the way!)

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    1. Oh man, I am going to win every argument with this logic! "You think you're tired? I BUILT A WORLD TODAY!" ;)

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  3. Whoa . . .! I definitely trust my writing ability over my baby-catching ability. xD I am grateful that there are people out there who have that calling though, who are able to deliver life into this world. We'd be in a whole lot of trouble if they ignored their calling.

    Great post!

    Sarah @ The Writer's Experiment

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    1. Yeah, no kidding! I actually frequently think to myself that I'm glad the world is made up of so many different kinds of people, because there are just so many jobs that I could never do (or would never want to) that others are incredibly well-suited for. Phew. :)

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  4. I love the idea of callings; I feel called to do certain things but I haven't quite managed to fully embrace them yet (except for motherhood).

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    1. Motherhood is a calling too - an awesome one!

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  5. oh, how I long for 'a calling'. I have spent most of my life just wanting to find something that gives me my deepest gladness and I am still looking. I have had a lot of variety in life as a consequence but I crave that moment when I finally know who I am meant to be.

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    1. Wishing you luck on your journey, Kate.

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  6. My deepest gladness was to co-create the lives that I pushed out into someone's hands. It is my enduring happiness. I haven't topped it yet, and never will. No matter what else I do with my life (and there are still a lot of hopes and dreams in this old lady) my shining achievement is giving birth to four pretty spectacular human beings.

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    1. I mean, it worked out pretty well for me. ;) Love you mama!

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  7. Beautiful post. There is a novel called The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier about a mid-wife who taps into her roots that is fantastic..for some reason it popped into my mind. I bet you'd like it.

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