Thinking on paper


The Rev. Bob Chell

4:17 p.m. Friday afternoon. Couple e-mails to send, then, freedom! Weekend!

Oh, Collegian column, 600 pithy words; advice, inspiration, reflection, gospel. Ugh.

Okay here we go…Crisp Autumn mornings…nah, overdone. Okay, “My life has too many words.” Well, it has the virtue of being true, but a bit esoteric for a student on the run.

Already done the busy-ness thing and the priority thing and the urgent vs. important thing. HMO. What do I have worth saying?Ah! I’ve got it! Something from Parker Palmer’s book; Let Your Life Speak.

Okay, how do I convey the power of this book which cut through the clutter of my life to reveal me to myself? Like preaching on Easter or Christmas, one can only muck it up and had best stay out of the way.

Do they know they need not rush about deciding on this major or that, padding resumes, exploring benefits packages. Would they believe that one’s vocation is not decided, but revealed? Some will of course. Dare I name them? No, I’d best not.

Let them live unexposed among the academic community. Those who have discerned their true self, their true calling.

The only clues their passion for the task at hand, their keen eye for the outsider, their calm amidst the chaos, their clear sense of self in a world wanting to redefine their wants and needs. Clues enough for those who have eyes to see, I think. They stand among us. They who have divined the secret of finding one’s true self, one’s true vocation. Those who know, as Palmer writes, “Vocation does not come from a voice ‘out there’ calling me to become something I am not. It comes from a voice ‘in here’ calling me to be the person I was born to be …” Vocation not a burden taken up but a burden lifted. Not a goal pursued but a calling heard.

Vocation, not as way of avoiding the dark night of the soul; tossing, turning, wondering, who I am, who I am called to become. Rather vocation discovered by embracing the darkness, the doubt, the fear, the questions, to find God’s promise revealed within.

To discover one’s true self, the self gifted by God.

Would that all would know the self God loves is the self within.

Too cryptic? Hope not. Gone fishin’.

Bob Chell is the campus pastor at the University Lutheran Center and is a member of the Campus Interfaith Council. Reach him at [email protected]