I was guilty of my own pet peeve a few days ago. I canceled dinner plans with a friend via text message.
Living in an iPhone world has made it quite easy and, for better or worse, acceptable to change or cancel the appointments we make with others with little notice. Overbooking, better offers, traffic, unexpected meetings, sudden lack of interest, wishing-we-hadn’t-made-that appointment (appointment remorse) and just plain exhaustion are all familiar reasons why we cancel. We don’t even have to call the person to bail. We can simply send a text message. And, quite honestly, when we are the one to receive said text message, we are sometimes relieved.
But there is one appointment, says James Hollis, that can’t be avoided, despite all our efforts: the appointment we each much have with our soul. He says that for many that day comes when we wake up and realize we’ve been living someone else’s life. Hollis observes that at some point one must answer the question, “why is the life I am living too small for the soul’s desire?” (Hollis, Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life). I thought about Hollis’ words in terms of a calling into ministry.
Is it possible that when Jesus began his forty-day journey in the wilderness he was merely keeping his own appointment? From that profound experience he emerges with a new task. A calling. A purpose. His life would now be larger than the one he previously knew. It would involve nothing less than the transformation and redemption of humankind.
Many of us are quite familiar with that disconnect between the life we are living and the yearning that lies within us. Perhaps that is the Divine provoking us to keep our appointment- or nudging us toward the next one. Because our callings do change over time.
If you are like me and have missed your appointment, or tried to cancel for that matter, there’s no need for guilt or worry that it’s too late. Instead, be affirmed with the words of an acquaintance of mine who reminded me that “it doesn’t matter if you missed a calling from God the first 100 times, it’s still valid on the 101st.”
During this time when recent seminary graduates are being ordained and commissioned by their various faith communities, it is a good time to reflect on our place in life. Are we living our heart’s yearning? Have we embraced the calling we have received? And if not, isn’t it about time?
posted by Kyle Herron