Sep 8, 2011

Vocation: There and Back Again




I was fifteen years old: naive, mischievous and lonely, awkward with my body, my voice ~ and my words - my very being. The gash of Mom and Dad's divorce was still raw; I felt ripped apart inside, hurt and distanced, unsure how to appease the increasing emptiness in the pit of my middle. I read novels in a walk-in-closet. Nicholas, my little brother, would peek in on me and wonder what the hell I was doing! When I wasn't absorbing the back of a cereal box or a Vonnegut, I used my bicycle to broaden my geographical horizons. I befriended a beloved librarian, a resilient French survivor of the guerre mondiale, a cassocked conservative priest and an existential liberal Jew. Those were my comrades. Even, very briefly, a traveling antique salesperson who voyaged in a Volkswagen van became my friend. In between visits with all my friends I took refuge in the church, hugging the venerable wood pew, using my spiritual imagination to conjure some image of a future. I would ask my reluctant mother to bring me to Sunday Eucharist - at first she thought it was a faze, like my recent attempts to collect every matchbox car ever made, then she became more hostile when I told her I wanted to be confirmed. Then I told my family I wanted to be a priest!

Maybe it was in those bike rides to confirmation class, or in those angry
battles with my parents about my life, about our life, about freedom. Or with my
great friends, the realization that someone outside your clan can love and accept
you for who you are - you grow to love and accept them, that I realized in a
process (that is still continuing) churning away inside of me like a warm Christmas
fire was the hearth of calling.




Now I teach philosophy and write about art. Is this my new religion?


I am interested in people's journey of faith. Where did it lead you? Are you the same "faith" as you were when you were younger? Why or why not?


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