Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Calling CAlling CALLING

Calling is a term that I hear a lot here. As a parent of young children, I became very familiar with the action form of that word. I called my children to lunch, called them on the carpet, called them to dinner.. I called them with a mom voice to find out who did what to whom? And I drew my flock back into the fold by calling them home.

I passed the torch as they grew into adolescence, and as usual, they took the term and ran with it. They discovered that calling is more fun via phone and they spent many an hour calling or being called.

Here in the church setting, calling takes on a whole new meaning. Being called is something that invites God into the mix. Had I known that years ago, I may have had better success in gathering my children, or enlisting their help around the house. Gosh, hindsight…..Consider- “Girls! Time to come in and clean your rooms!!” vs. “ Girls, I’ve been called to gather you and send you forth into your abodes to cleanse your rooms of idle dirty clothes and mislaid toys.” Now, doesn’t that sound better?

I fully understand the significance and powerful importance of being called. I was called to come and apply for this job a few years ago. I had no appointment. I had, in fact, just completed an interview at another church and was in shock at the prospect of working in that particular constrictive albeit Christian environment. I very nearly backed out and ran to my car. The scariest part was the feeling that I was going to be offered the job ( and I was) and had I stayed a minute longer, I may have been offered the job on the spot. ( oh, dear Lord)

Realizing this, I was “called” to say, “ Oh!! Look at the time, I’m late for picking up the girls at school, I’m sorry, but I really must go!” No connection sparked in my interviewer. My girls were all in high school or College by then, how likely would it be that I would need to race to carpool? But thank gosh for that calling. It got me out of there.

Driving home, I decided to scope out churches close to home and just go for it. I went home and googled churches and found a few close by and HBUMC came up. Something about that particular church tugged at my hem. I had taught summer camp many hundreds of years ago and I liked the energy there. I checked out the site and saw the opening and then I thought to my interview -dressed self, “Self, get your wrinkle free bod over there STAT” and I did. I just walked right in. Immediately, I felt at home. I asked to see the business administrator, and the front desk volunteer sent me back to his office.

I had nothing to lose, I had not planned this visit, I just felt the need to go forward so I did. The business administrator sat across from me frozen at my daring delivery. I told him outright that I thought they needed me. How insane is that? Don’t answer that. I can’t explain it, I just spontaneously spilled my heartfelt thoughts. He started out saying if this turned into an interview, I’d have to make an appointment because the Senior Pastor and he were interviewing. I got around that by saying, “Well, let’s just pretend this is an interview, let’s just practice, okay?” and so we did. The next thing I knew, he held up his index finger and said in a Barney Fife anxious and excited way , “ Excuse me just a minute.” Apparently, he ran down the hall and grabbed the Senior Pastor by the tie and dragged him back into the office. I met the Senior Pastor and I found him delightful and warm.

Not long after that I had a full fledged interview with all staff and was so intimidated by the interview in the round,I decided to just come clean and I told them the hard truth about me. I feel a little shaky even repeating it now here to whoever has been tracking this blabber. I told the staff that I didn’t really know if I was what they were looking for or not, but that what they see is just what they get. I am just me. I like people, have lots of experience with kids and families, and my preschool Director experience and writing has given me some knowledge of computer skills, I’m willing to learn, and that’s about as good as it gets. I didn’t want to mislead any of them, and I was sure I didn’t know what I was getting into either. Many days, I still don’t know what I’ve gotten myself into. … So I just unzipped my whole soul and laid it right out there.

You know the rest of the story, now, I suspect. That is what calling has meant to me, friends.

But I think, generally speaking, the term called, well,it gets very over used. And I want to caution my readers to consider before voicing “being called to do this or that” is something I don’t want us to take for granted. Our hearts send out a call and the call is from something higher than our human selves. I’ve looked at it as nudging. Teaching from the Spirit. Some of that empowers us to make choices on our own. I’m not sure some “called” statements ring of truth in the calling. “I was called to be president of the PTA”- just doesn’t cut it for me. “ I was called to clean out my closet, and look! I was then called to shop!” nope. I’m afraid that if we overuse call, we may have a problem with hang ups eventually. I have no reason to voice this – maybe I was just “called” to. On the other hand, listening to my work boss and seeing what he is clearly called to do is a miracle in motion.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing. So enjoy reading your stories.