One shoe off

October 5, 2007

“That may work in Tough-girl land … but not in real life.”

Editor’s note: This post acknowledges the existence of women’s reproductive organs and makes general references to routine medical procedures. As such, it may not be suitable for “more sensitive” readers. In addition, it is extraordinarily long, particularly for a blog entry. And finally, it’s overly confessional, highly personal and barely even tangentially related politics, theological reflection, or the current topic in TEC 300. Look for THAT kind of stuff sometime this weekend.

My apologies to all … the whole working thing has been very mentally draining — YOU try dashing from exam room to exam room asking middle-aged, respectable Latina mothers about their sexual habits , wrangling distressed children and trying to explain possible vaccine reactions to their mothers, and trying to come up with the Spanish words for medical terms you don’t even know in English. Do THAT a couple of days and then try to come up with a hundred-odd words on theology and politics and stuff.

Despite my excuses, I really am enjoying my work at the health department. The initial awkwardness of being the third person in the room during gynecological exams aside (if you ever find yourself in this situation, I offer you my little sister’s — who’s also spent some time interpreting — invaluable advice: “Stand by the head and you’ll be fine.”, it’s very cool to be a patient advocate, to help ensure that women (and children) are receiving compassionate and adequate care.

I’m enjoying it so much that it’s got me thinking (argh! not again!) about a change of vocation. I’ve developed a profound respect for the nurse practitioners with whom I’ve been working, so an inkling of a thought about going into that field has crept into my mind. (Those of you who know me won’t be terribly surprised … I change my mind about what I want to do every six months or so.)

What’s surprising is how out of the blue this is — I have never had any desire to go into the health care field (all those Paraguayan summer afternoons whiled away over my mom’s copy of “Where There is No Doctor” notwithstanding). It’s just never appealed to me as a career choice. So it seems odd to me that, standing at the head of the table while a woman gets Papped, I should hear a voice (I’m trying very hard to avoid any off color Moses jokes. You should too) saying “Whom shall I send? And who shall go for us?” (Operation avoid Moses reference a success; incidentally, the citation is Isaiah 6:8.)

I know this is not particularly “Public” theology, and I had intended to write about some stuff I saw on the news tonight, but I seem to have rambled on and on about this. I may as well try to make it at least slightly theological.

Thing is, I’ve never known exactly how to think theologically about vocation. That may seem odd, because the topic of vocation seems like it would be a theological no-brainer. The fact is, I grew up around people who would describe every decision they made or new step they took as a response to “God’s call.” I went to college at a school where some people seemed convinced that God was dictating everything they did, from “God told me to wear this shirt today for a reason, so that lady at McDonald’s would compliment me on it and I could tell her about our mission trip to Cabo and witness to her about Jesus.” to “God told me that you’re going to be my wife. Will you go out with me?” When I first began to sense a call, I wondered if I just lacked any other language to talk about trying to decide what to do with my life. Plus, it was never a very specific call. More of a “You should be doing something DIFFERENT” sense, and a vague pull toward seminary … and then I went to a visitor day at CTS and that felt good, so I decided to go with it. In general though, I’ve tended to live my life in a sort of haphazard way: following my bliss or reacting to situations that arose. The first took me to Chicago, the second brought me back to Oklahoma. Despite the fact that I have a sort of general direction in which I’m moving, I often feel like I don’t live my life with a great deal of intentionality. Is intentionality necessary to vocation? I’ve finally gotten comfortable with the idea of being “called,” but am I ever going find out what I’m called TO? Is it this?

The whole tone of this entry is getting far too confessional for my own comfort level, so I’ll leave this discussion here, for the moment. Tomorrow, look for the theology of Marion Jones and some thoughts on personal and social holiness (see, class, I’m getting there eventually).

Oh, by the way, the title comes from something the commentator (if that’s what she is. I’m really unsure of several people’s role on the show) on Judge Joe Brown said. It really has no relation at all to the post, or to anything. But I thought it would make a brilliant blog posting title, and figured I’d better use it before it got lost up there.


  1. i have a hard time really believing people who had “that kind” of call. it doesn’t seem fair to me. god gets the credit when you can witness to the woman at mcdonalds, but he doesn’t get the blame when you’re hit by a truck while riding your bicycle because he told you to wear the black, not the neon orange shirt, this morning? my mom always said each step she made in her life led her to the next one, but my life is full of things that currently seem purposeless- nothing adds up. and i’m not willing to wait for the end of my life, just so i can look back and say “oh! there’s the pattern!”
    i was certain i was called to my volunteer work. but now i think i thought that because it seemed like the only option that was really possible, and it was one i didn’t want to do. “this is what i should be doing and i don’t want to do it- that must be god’s call!” but once i was in training, god had absolutely NOTHING to say about where is should go. and i didn’t have any great ideas, myself. three months into it i was sure i’d made the wrong choice, and god wasn’t willing to offer any credit or take responsibility at that point either.
    but for me the goal of the program was to figure out how to reconcile being a christian and spending my life’s work sewing superflous clothes for rich people. so i guess that end was acomplished, though i stuck with the sewing bit much longer than the christian bit.

    hey, just let me know if i should blog on my own blog instead of on yours… i don’t know why you provoke me to the world’s most enormous comments. i will TRY and rein them in when they become longer than the actual entry i’m responding to…

    Comment by caitlin leah — October 6, 2007 @ 11:04 am | Reply

  2. I’ve always figured we are called to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly, and very rarely anything more specific than that. Whenever anybody else got “called” to anything in the Bible (read: other than basic discipleship), it was usually something huge and lousy, and it had to be blatant and written in flashing red lights because *they didn’t want to go.* Think Moses, think Jonah, think Elijah. I think it is possible, but rare, for someone to be called to a specific vocation or job (and downright ridiculous to co-opt the word for doing things you know you should be doing anyway). In my mind and terminology, a “call” is different from a “convicion,” the knowledge in our spirits of what we ought to do.

    Babbling enough for you? No time to edit. =)

    Comment by Elissa — October 16, 2007 @ 10:20 am | Reply

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