Location vocation vacation

IMG_4289I have “enjoyed” a burst of domesticity this morning, in between stitching together liturgy for Epiphany (when we celebrate the safe arrival of an unknown number of wise men to see baby, or indeed, toddler, Jesus). So far I have bled over clean pillowcases, burnt myself on the iron, and decided that apart from dealing promptly with the fresh cat sick, further cleaning can wait.

From this you may gather that domesticity is not my forte, and you’d be right. But today, it got me thinking, what if I’d been born a hundred, or even fifty, years earlier? A child in a family living in a Lodge on an estate (of the “big house’ variety, not the modern sort) would have found employment somewhere within the boundaries, and my options would have been limited. If I’d been very lucky, I might have become a schoolteacher: that would have been tough on my pupils! More likely I’d have become a domestic servant – parlour maid, scullery maid, probably not a nursery maid. I could have landed the tougher end of the stick and ended up in the Laundry (and it still makes me laugh when I go past the Old Laundry – someone has gentrified it to “Lawnderry”.)

I tend to preach about discerning God’s will for each of us in our lives, and generally that is my code for Vocation. It’s an overused word for clergy, in that within church it tends to have a phrase assumed – Vocation [to the Priesthood]. If you are churchy, dear reader, and I ask you if you have found your vocation, you may think I am inviting you to share a life of plastic collars, tea, quiche, and of general wondrousness. But it is not so. Rather, I am asking if you have found what makes your heart sing, what makes you leap out of bed eagerly? Of course, my own vocation doesn’t always achieve that, if I am tired or ill then I am as grumpy as the next slave. But if I am rested, well, and ready to face the world, then even this morning-averse cleric can be quite chirpy.

I am grateful to those whose vocation lies in domesticity. Those who cook, clean, look after others and their homes, offices etc. Because you all make my world a far lovelier place, and also enable me to follow Christ, wherever He may lead me. ¬†Location, vocation, and the occasional vacation. That’ll do me!

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4 responses to “Location vocation vacation

  1. Oh such energy and enthusiasm, you dear young thing : )
    Forgive my facetiousness please. I do so envy you your vocation, not least because in all other respects (domesticity etc) we are very similar.
    Sadly i am still looking for mine, and at the age of (nearly) 80, I fear it may be a useless quest.
    Nevertheless, I am glad for you and feel sure that you have indeed found the one thing to make you “leap out of bed in the morning”
    For me it is a rather more insistent but less attractive necessity which does so.
    Have a wonderful New Year.
    Blessings.

  2. I’m certain NOW, that after a lifetime that I’ve found the vocation that God has given me later in life.

    The first vocation was funnily enough an accidental one. Working for the Post Office in London, in the sixties, it was Civil Service (before Nationalisation) and you could become established and be put on the pension scheme after 3 months probation. Because my eyesight wasn’t perfect they refused to establish me and after 12 months of being put off, time and again, I went and had an Army medical, which passed me fit to fight. I took this back and confronted my GPO bosses about their blinkered approach to become Established and said, if I’m fit enough to fight for my country why am I not fit enough to become an Established civil servant? “GO AND FIGHT THAN” they said, and so I did. A fit of pique that 43 years later chucked me out as being too old to be of any more use to them (retirement).

    In the meantime.God intervened in my life and I became (and remain convinced) that he was calling me to Ordained Ministry. So, 4 years of slog in the discernment process followed, which ended with the NOT at BAP in 2012. Was I wrong and the Church right? I don’t know, but that ache is still there. If I had passed BAP and 2012, I’d have now been in training for Ordination next year. Something which I would have welcomed hugely. But I know that it’s not a realizable possibility as I wasn’t prepared to put myself back through the whole process all over again.

    I wonder if that conviction has led me up the garden path. Perhaps that conviction was just to help humanity in service of some kind, and the way that I have coped is to opt for Lay Ministry? A question that I have asked myself time and again, have discussed with my SD on numerous occasions, but somehow, Licensed Lay Ministry is a practical, realisable option – one which is within my grasp, and which the practical part is already in action.

    Having the privilege of preaching to our whole parish last Sunday, has made me realise that God’s option remain open as do mine.

    It’s not about what I want, but what he wants, and also about the people that I’m living among, and who have received me with an open heart and mind and have accepted the ministry I offer without question in such an open hearted manner.

    It’s taking shape in away that feels right. Stuff in Church, but in the future, even more stuff outside church. Some form of chaplaincy in our own context, which will help in some small way to bring the good news in the lives of others. I’ve been given that chance and having grasped it, have begun to accept that while I still long for Ordained Ministry in my heart, that Lay Ministry isn’t second best, rather it’s God’s way of showing me that the Ministry of all of the baptized isn’t just a concept, but a real, living vocation which we all could and should seize while we have the chance.

    Good has put me in the place, is now giving me the tools and by his grace, will permit me to serve in his way, not the way that I was so certain off, 5 years ago.

    This is the mystery of Location, Vocation and Vocation. There might be more than one, it might change, direction, but will always be to serve God and his people with our hearts, mind and soul. It’s only taken 65 years for that to sink in!!

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