Boomer, today’s book review is about purpose and “calling.” As noted in this book, and exemplified by my friend Susan, our purpose and calling can change throughout our lives. And it can have a profound impact on our lives.
Proceed with caution…
My friend Susan’s purpose and calling was to build a successful business. After her husband unexpectedly died, she threw herself into her business and succeeded in grand fashion.
(I was only a teensy bit jealous of her success.)
Now she was dating someone who showed all the signs of being Mr. Right.
Over lunch she told me she had “big news.” She said she’d kept it quiet until she was sure. Now she was finally ready.
“She’s getting married again,” I thought to myself. I was on pins and needles.
Then my head exploded.
She said she was closing shop, selling all her possessions, and becoming a missionary. Her first assignment was Africa.
And by the way, she’d love to give me her baby grand piano.
Boomer, I.am.not.kidding. I about dropped dead.
Let me tell you. If you knew Susan like I know Susan, you’d be just as shocked. Boomer, this was a woman whose idea of camping out was a week-end at the Holiday Inn.
For the rest of lunch, her mouth moved. I heard nothing.
When lunch was over, I needed a stiff drink, or Baskin Robbins, or a bookstore–anything to help me process what just happened. For once, I chose the lowest calorie option.
Roaming the bookstore like a zombie, I finally spied the book:
by John Schuster
According to the author, it’s not just people like my friend Susan who have a calling. Apparently, we all have a calling. In fact, the author contends that deep within us we all know what our calling is.
Our goal, says the author, is to uncover this calling and, like Susan, get about the business of making it happen. Our calling does not have to be grandiose. In fact the author urges us to rail against the ego, which tells us that our callings have to be grandiose and lofty. Our callings, big or small, simply have to be worthy of us.
And they can change throughout our lifetime, as Susan’s did. We might have a calling to raise well-adjusted children at one time in our lives. Later, when they are grown, our calling may change to feeding the poor or starting a business. Big or small, we must discover and act upon our callings.
In pursuing our calling, the author warns us to avoid saboteurs. Saboteurs are people who will seek to derail us from living and sustaining our calling. Instead, we must seek out evocateurs. Evocateurs are those who help us call forth our calling. They help us sustain the work necessary to reach and execute our calling day after day, week after week.
Boomer, if you’re like Susan and have a decent idea of what your post-career calling is, this book might be for you. It will give you the encouragement to make it happen. The book’s stated goal is to serve as a “siren-song” to live our calling. The book is beautifully written.
On the other hand, if you are completely unsure of what your post-career calling might be, this book might be a challenge. While I loved reading it, it didn’t seem to provide any actionable steps–that I could see–to help one identify his or her calling.
I think a better book might be Don’t Retire, Rewire! or, alternatively, Life Reimagined: Discovering Your New Life Possibilities, which were reviewed here and here. These books give you a step-by-step road map for sorting it all out.
Susan occasionally calls from Africa. She tells me stories of heart-breaking poverty and claims she’s never felt more fulfilled.
I’m almost over the shock.
I’m contemplating piano lessons.