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A Joyful Obligation

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There are days when I feel a frantic push to find my change-making place in the universe. I have bounties to offer, and I am worried about wasting time. I feel a cosmic obligation to find my niche. This search for place has so much to do with career decisions.


When I was young, my favorite book was Miss Rumphius. It is the story of a woman who travels the world over looking for her place in it but she is never quite satisfied because her grandfather told her as a young girl that she must make the world a more beautiful place. Finally she settles by the sea and sows lupine seeds on the dunes and in the countryside. It is a small act, and she does it without pretense, but she later realizes that it is her calling, her gift of beauty to the world.


I get restless. I’m ready to find my seeds to sow. I am fascinated by others whose spirit and work are in such alignment. They can move mountains. They are the people I respect.


I can appreciate that it takes time; it takes a journey. I have perspective. I do enjoy the daily joys of living an extremely blessed life. Don’t worry about me—I’m just excited to see what is in store. I was put into the world with a unique set of talents, and I can hardly wait to see where I can best be put to work. I think it will click. I think I will know. Mom recently asked me how I would know. For now, I only know that I will.


I sometimes wonder if others dismiss my plight, when I feel comfortable enough to share it, with a roll of the eyes. “This educated middle-class American white woman needs to just buckle down. What a privilege it must be to be burdened by an idealistic notion that her career matters to the world.” But for those of us who have been afforded a rich life, I think it is all the more imperative that we seek the channel for our blessings to best flow into the world. My seeking is not a waste of time. My fuzzy vision of my aligned spirit and career is not a mirage. I do my best to balance its call with a more relaxed pace in which to enjoy the here and now.


But I know how good it will be to find it because I have been though this balanced yearning before. It was called dating. I always believed that the right fit was out there. I did not know how it would feel, but I wanted to find it. I learned a lot of necessary things about myself along the way. I had fun along the way. I would not have been ready if there had not been a journey. And when I found him it clicked immediately. I knew. He knew. Life afterwards is not a constant, flawless high, but I’m under no illusion that the right career will be either.


To me, what I do with my life is nearly as important as who I spend it with. My search is some days frantic, some days more subdued, but, above all, I believe it is necessary. I want to do the world justice with my life.

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