By: Staci Stallings
My husband is a carpenter. Right now one of the projects he’s working on is remodeling the chapel in a convent. Yesterday I had the honor of meeting up with some of the sisters simply because we were at the same place at the same time. Because they hear about me and I hear about them, I went up to one I did not know personally and introduced myself. I had a funny story to tell her about our paths had crossed during the project. When I introduced myself, she let out a long sigh and said, “I’m sure you know this, but your husband does phenomenal work.” I smiled. Yes, I know. He does.
She and I began talking about what doing what you love really means, how we’re each given gifts, and how my gifts, if properly used, dovetail with your gifts so that we work together to create something neither of us could have accomplished on our own. I told her that I had been a teacher for three years, and my husband works in the building and remodeling of schools. I told her, “I’ve always thought how important it is to have both of us. He builds the schools, and I teach in them. One without the other doesn’t work.”
What I find interesting these days is how often we are put down for what we love to do. Conversely, it has become clear how when we’re doing what we love, not only do we benefit, but the world benefits from that love. Take the pilot that landed the plane in the Hudson River. He wasn’t in that plane because somebody said it was a good job that would pay well. He flew because he loved to fly. Because he loved to fly, he took and taught extra classes that were not “required.” He studied–both the book knowledge and the experience knowledge. I submit that it is precisely BECAUSE he had been doing what he loved for many years that he was able to do what to almost everyone else seemed impossible. Further, because of his love of flying, there are 146 people still with us–who are still with their families and at their jobs and who can still make a difference in our world–a difference we may not even realize how much we need.
And I believe that about each of us.
The gathering that I and the nuns attended yesterday was about vocations. What are you called to do? What has God gifted you for? What has He put on your heart to do in this life?
I believe much of the misery you see in people’s faces today comes from the fact that they are not doing what they were put here to do. Instead, they have been told that they shouldn’t do X because Y makes more money or has more jobs or that what they want to do is not a job of the future. But if you think about it, if you are where you are meant to be, you naturally position yourself to be ready for the jobs of the future in that field or an off-shoot of it because you are constantly studying it and learning.
Take my husband for example. When he first started, I often got concerned that there wouldn’t be enough work to keep him busy. But the truth is there are a lot of doorknobs in the world. There are also a lot of doors–and not all of them work. There are handrails to fix, schools to renovate, classrooms to build or remodel, new doors to install, old doors to fix, hospitals that have things break that need repaired… and the list goes on and on. It is because he loves what he does that he’s made a deep study of how to put cabinets together so they will hold into the next century. It is because he loves what he does that he’s willing to put in extra hours to get a job done right. It is because he loves what he does that others see his work and want him to come work on their project–or come back when they need something else done.
If he was in it for a paycheck, to slap it together as fast as possible however it worked so he could get on to something else, he would not be asked back (I know this because some schools have expressly said they don’t want this company or that one to do the work because of the lousy job they did on the last job–six years ago. In fact, one company had to change its name to get any business at all because their prior name was synonymous with “shoddy work that will fall apart the second they leave.”)
My question for you is, are you doing what you were made to do? Do you have a passion for your work, or are you just collecting a paycheck and praying you get through the next week, the next month, the next couple of years until retirement? If you’re just getting through, it seems to me that’s not what you were made to do. This life is supposed to be a great adventure, but too many of us have settled for it’s-okay-for-now until now is over. The question then is: When is it going to be your time to start doing what you were made to do?
Maybe that time is now.