Fertile Ground for Synchronicities

Thoughts on pursuing our calling

Feb 01, 2023

Growth Calling Life Purpose God
compass leaning on a window sill

Photo by Jordan Madrid

The poet does not see and then begin to search for words to say what he sees: he begins to see and at once begins to say or to sing, and only in the act of verbalization does he see further.

—Denise Levertov

This, I have found, sums up my writing process. Often, I have absolutely no idea where the piece is going to go. I only have an idea for how to begin it and a theme I want to write about. But I trust the process enough to let it take me where it wants to go, instead of impose my will on it forcibly. Of course this may be easier for a nonfiction writer like myself. I don’t need to worry about plot or story line. I’m not trying to develop characters or create dialogue that is going in a specific direction. That is both a gift and a challenge of my genre. So much open space. So little structure.

C.S. Lewis said “I never exactly made a book. It’s rather like taking dictation. I was given things to say.” It can feel like that. And this requires a lot of sitting and waiting, a lot of listening. The ear, the mind, and the heart must tune out the distracting noises of the world and become engrossed in the stillness that presents itself, pregnant with ideas.

This stillness used to terrify me. The blank page was a mirror reflecting back the emptiness I felt. The cursor — a mocking cynic silently laughing at my attempts to string words together. It’s no wonder I ran from it for so long. But something always called me back. Maybe it was the muse. Maybe it was the desire to express myself. Maybe it was God. Asking me to try again. And again. Until the blank page changed from terrifying into inviting. A plea to respond to a calling.

To write or not to write, that is the question.

Substitute “write” with your own response and this becomes the question we must all answer for ourselves. There are some of us who have a Calling, with a capital C (the Gandhis of the world), and then there are the rest of us presented with a little “c” calling, just as purpose-filled but less “in the limelight.” Think firefighters, missionaries, local artists, conservationists, teachers. All stepping forward and courageously walking the path they feel wholeheartedly drawn to.

This is what the world needs — people following their bliss, the thing that lights them up, not those looking to fix everyone else. For joy is contagious; it extends beyond the individual as it’s expressed, rippling outward to move people in their confined spaces.

You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.

—Alexander Den Heijer

Sometimes our calling is buried underneath piles of laundry, kids’ birthday parties, unpaid bills, a dreadful boss, sick family members, the endless to-do list. But it waits, patiently — like the bare tree branches in winter that wait for the bud — for us to pay attention to it. Maybe it just wants to be fused with our day-to-day, absorbed into our routines and habits. Maybe it wants to paint itself into the background of our life in times we can’t make it front and center. It doesn’t seem to ask too much, only nudging us when we get too deep into the monotony of it all.

Whether we pursue our C/calling or not, the days will pass. Nothing life-altering is lost or gained. Or is it? The angst of not following it is never knowing whose lives we may touch, or possibly transform — including our own — through that pursuit. God works in mysterious ways, it is said. He also works in mysterious synchronicities that merge our C/callings with one another. The ways in which we can positively impact each other with our gifts is immeasurable.

Maybe God designed it this way because He knew we are wayward creatures, so easily discontent. Knowing we’d walk around bemoaning, “there has to be more than this!” Only God can turn our dissatisfaction into dirt for sowing latent dreams. At the intersection of our pain and misery lies the crossroads of our unfulfilled potential.

If we follow the breadcrumbs of our ache, fully trusting God to lead the way, we will arrive at the place where it becomes molded into purpose. Our desires harmonizing with God’s will.

This journey is not always linear, and rarely smooth. Just like my writing process, it requires a lot of sitting and waiting, and endless listening. But somewhere along the way, if we keep at it, if we keep showing up and surrendering control of the process to God, the blank page fills with sincere words, and our days fill with meaning. Our C/calling becomes more prominent and we give it the attention it deserves. We finally have an answer to the question, “To _____ or not to _____?” To be a musician, an artist, a judge, a marine, a gymnast, a parent, an architect, a therapist. To be alive. Courageously choosing to pursue and embody what we are called to be is what keeps the earth spinning. And she is fertile ground for synchronicities.

I'm going to make everything around me beautiful — that will be my life.

—Elsie de Wolfe