How does our vocation fit into a life that is increasingly attentive to God’s presence and God’s work in this world?
This is what Dean Nelson in God Hides in Plain Sight: How to See the Sacred in a Chaotic World asks in chp 1 of his book.
Dean heard his life’s vocation through his Uncle Ed Blair who, after pressing him on what he was doing and what he could do, suggested journalism. Dean: “Uncle Ed created a space that both encouraged and inspired me to take the inner vocational journey” (32).
What precipitated your “vocational” journey? Was it an experience? A role model? Someone’s advice? Rock-hard common sense about what you like to do?
While I had a youth pastor who was influential and parents who were more than encouraging of a young high school student to pursue theological studies, for me it was an experience — alone on a hill — and the incredible thrill I had in high school when I began to read and study the Bible. What about you?
“To know that we fit into the world is a wonderful gift. To use the gifts each of us is given creates a sense of great purpose” (33). Nelson sees this a sacramental view of calling or vocation.
How so? “We experience the presence of God through the exercise of our abilities” (33). This is one of the best pieces of wisdom you will ever hear about God’s presence. This is why Nelson says that we need to listen for God and to God as we do our vocation.
Nelson tells his story of finding and wandering around in his own vocation, and it’s a good story. In many ways, his story is the story of everyone. As he puts it, we need to spend our energies focusing less on our occupation and more on our vocation.
But Nelson is a master story-teller and this chp, like the others, is filled with stories of people. And good quotations. Like this one from Buechner: “If we keep our lives open, the right place will find us.”