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I thought of Miss Ruth’s post from yesterday when I saw this quote.  We all have two choices in life.

  1.  Be a mediocre copy of someone else. This doesn’t mean you have to copy someone else but if you are constantly contemplating what they will think when you X, Y or Z?  You are more their person than you are yourself.
  2.  Be ourselves.

I was raised to be #1.  The most commonly heard chorus at home was “What will the neighbors think?”  As an adult, I realize that if the neighbors are spending that must time thinking about me, their lives are sorry indeed.  But I spent a lot of time as a teen considering every single action.  Occassionally I would break free and do my own thing, but not often enough.

Then came college.  At that point in my life there were too many neighbors to keep everyone happy.  I had to find my calling.

Whether your calling is to be a teacher, a doctor or a parent, there are others doing the same thing.  Your job?  Bring your own special way of doing things to this path that God has put you on.

Sometimes I worry that I’m a bit too myself.  Maybe just maybe I should tone it down.

Then I run into a friend I haven’t seen in years.  Before taking her Mom to chemo, she goes on Facebook to check out what the rest of us are up to.  “Keep posting, please!  You always crack me up and I need that.”

3 parts sarcasm.  2 parts irreverant lip.  What do the neighbors think?  At least some of them get it and that’s good.  Because this is the me that God made.

Find your calling.  Find your light.  God made you to be you.  Not to be me or Ruth or even Lori.

–SueBE

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If you’ve looked at the headlines today, you’ve probably seen news about young children being taken from immigrant parents, complaints about President Trump, and his daughter Ivanka.  You have already spent some time thinking about other turmoils in this world – environmental problems, those seeking asylum and more.

Frankly, it’s overwhelming.

Take a deep breath.  Now raise up your eyes.  Above the turmoil and the crisis are a group of men and women who have heard a calling from God. They have signed on to serve their country.  You may not agree with where they serve or the actions they take, but these men and women are the bridge that carries many of us across danger.  

They fight our wars and offer assistance in natural disasters.  Their leaders have even petitioned the Federal Government regarding climate change. Memorial Day belongs to them.

–SueBE

God never promises that it is going to be easy.  Today in Sunday School, we began our discussion of Gideon.  Gideon was one of the people who God chose as a judge.  Except for Deborah, judges weren’t judges in the sense that we use the word.  They didn’t sit in judgement.  They were leaders, warriors.

But Gideon was a timid man.  He lived at a time when the Israelites hid in caves.  They had to sneak out to harvest their crops and thresh grain.  If those occupying their lands saw them preparing grain, they would swoop in and take it.

Gideon was hiding what he was doing, threshing grain in a wine-press.  He was not a bold man.  He asked for sign after sign, unsure that he was hearing God’s message correctly.  Gideon had a lot to overcome.

What is God calling you to become?  It probably isn’t something easy.  If it is, you would have done it already.   There are almost surely obstacles in your path.

Still, you hear God calling.  Look up.  Look around.  What are you being called to do?

–SueBE

 

 

Something small, even a single cluster of flowers, can have a big impact. (Photo, SueBE, Missouri Botanical Gardens, 2012)

Ever since Lori wrote her post about finding our Mission in life, I’ve been thinking. What is my MISSION? It sounds so big. So important.

The problem is that I don’t feel like I’ve got something this monumental going on. Have I missed my Mission?

Then I saw this quote from Mother Teresa. “We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”

Let me repeat that. Small things with great love. It bears repeating because many of us underestimate the value of these small gestures.

Recently, we had a new singer join our church choir. As talkative as I can be, I am an introvert. When I’m not in the mood for people, I’m really not in the mood. Sadly, her first night there was one of those nights. I’d arrived early, looking forward to a few quite moments, but she was also early. With a sigh that was mostly in my head, I managed to make chit chat and welcome her to the group.

Choir isn’t all work. We take our music more-or-less seriously, but we also love to laugh and are always kidding around about something. In one of these moments, our new singer made eye contact. Should she laugh or shouldn’t she? As soon as we connected, she broke into a huge grin. She was, after all, a part of the group.
All it took was a little chit chat and our usual inability to be serious for very long. None of it huge, but big enough to keep this teen coming back to us on a weekly basis.

Small gestures can mean a lot. And so, I repeat.

“We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”

Small things add up to make a great impact in the lives of those who need to feel God’s love.

–SueBE

The Blues Brothers weren’t the only ones on a mission from God — we all are. The difficulty lies in finding your mission. No one is going to hand it to you in an envelope marked “Top Secret.” The tape will not self-destruct in three, two, one…. You must discover your mission on your own. Well, not exactly alone. But we’ll get to that in a bit.

Your job is unlikely to be your mission, though it can be, especially if you are a teacher or doctor or nurse or police officer or firefighter — any profession that serves, often with personal sacrifice as a built-in job requirement. For all the rest of us, our mission is separate from our occupation. So how do we find it? And, perhaps more importantly, why should we care?

Ever feel like there’s more to life than what you’re living? Ever wonder what you were put on Earth to accomplish? That’s where “mission” comes in. Call it a calling. Call it a quest. It gives life meaning, purpose. It gives us a reason to live.

Think of the things that matter most to you. Perhaps your mission is to be a parent. Maybe you’re meant to advance humankind in some way. When it comes to mission, size doesn’t matter. All missions are sacred. And that’s why you’re not alone — God is in it with you. Grace, freely given gift, will guide you to your mission. Only don’t expect a knock on the head. “Mission” demands to be deeply felt. To see what the exterior of your life should look like, you must go interior. Pray, meditate. Feel your way forward.

And don’t expect to see things mapped out for you. Missions must sometimes be taken in baby steps, groping forward bit by bit. As long as we continue to push ourselves forward, we are on the right path. My mission, as I see it, is to move closer to God, to walk with Him through the written word. Gift plus intention equals mission.

So…what is your mission?

After reading about SueBe’s latest endeavor, I was emboldened to talk about my own. Not that I’m ashamed of it. I’m thrilled, actually. I’ve been accepted into the Providence Associate program with the Sisters of Providence. With vocations at an unsettling low, the Sisters have instituted a program whereby ordinary folk like me engage in intense study and contemplation in order to become associates of the order. This means that one day, if my studies go well, I will be a part of spreading the mission and charism of the S.P.s.

I can’t wait to begin the journey; my companion in this endeavor will be my dear friend and mentor Sr. Rosemary Nudd, English professor extraordinaire from my college days. She will guide me along the way, provoking me to get and give the most that I can.

So why am I not shouting my news from the rooftops? To certain people, I am. My mother, for instance, understands my calling and shares my joy. Others don’t quite get it. “Will you have to wear the costume?” one well-meaning friend asked. (Just for the record, the Sisters of Providence haven’t worn a “costume” in many, many years. They dress just like you and me.) “Does this mean you’re leaving your husband?” someone else inquired. No, it doesn’t. I won’t take vows. I won’t be obligated financially to the order. I’ve simply expressed my desire to have an ongoing, formal relationship with them, to help them with their work in the world.

Unfortunately, what nuns are and what they do is still largely misunderstood in this world, so of course, my calling is something of a mystery to some. But it is my calling, after all. No one has to understand it but me. And I couldn’t be happier.

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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