calling and caller

I watched a really good movie recently, The Rider. About a young bronco rider who suffers a bad head injury in a rodeo accident. Very well-acted, and well-told. Its story is one that we don't hear often, about losing the thing we've been living for, the thing we're meant to do. Many stories tell about finding that thing; not many tell about losing it. And what can be discovered after.

This story seems especially important to me, too, because it even suggests that there's more important things in life than finding "what you're meant to do." Christians might say "what you're created for," or "your calling." There's so much emphasis on that. But it seems to me that this should not be our goal; really, it's just the beginning.

I do think that finding a way to express our deeper desires and talents to create or do something good is a wonderful experience. Energizing and fulfilling. And I do believe it can be a way of hearing God's voice in our lives. It's very important, too, to experience what hearing God feels like, then experience the joy of responding and being a part of something good God is doing. Maybe "finding our calling" is one of the most fundamental experiences of that.

It's the beginning, though, not the end. It's easy to get attached to "the call," the work we're good at, that's so satisfying, and that others admire. It's easy to think we've found the answer for our lives. But we'll find that the work itself won't fulfill us forever, and won't change the world as much as we thought it would. And it's easy for work to be co-opted by other people who want to use it for their own purposes. And then there's the inevitable end of the work. Maybe it's an accident like in the movie, or just old age. But it's going to end. And if we've been living for that, what happens then?

What's most important in hearing a call is beginning to recognize the Caller. Whatever action or work we're called to is limited and will end. But if we recognize the One who calls us, we can hear the next call, and the next. We should be careful not to attach ourselves to "our calling," but instead focus on the one voice calling our name.