Harriet “Moses” Tubman – liberated more than 700 slaves during the Transatlantic Slave Trade. One of my sheroes.
A few days ago I watched Beyonce’s very moving “I Was Here” video, which is a montage of the greatest moments of her personal & professional life. It brought me to tears. Earlier today, I watched the newest episode of Real Housewives of Atlanta and was particularly interested in Phaedra’s newfound interest in the funeral business. When speaking to one of the most successful funeral home owners in Atlanta – she kept saying she was “called” to do this after making the arrangements for a member of her family. Finally, while scanning my google reader, I came across an article about Dr. Cornel West leaving Princeton to return home to teach at Union Theological Seminary. He is someone who I have tremendous respect & admiration for because he is one of my husband’s mentors and because he is undoubtedly committed to his principles.
Dr. West said “I don’t have that much time, and I want to be able to do precisely what I’m called to do.” And the President of Union and also a former student of his said, “In coming here, Cornel comes to a place where his scholarly commitments and his activism don’t live in two different worlds. As you get older, the more integrated your life is, the healthier it feels and the less time you have to spend waking up deciding who you’re going to be that day. At Union, he just has to be Cornel.”
So then I started thinking about my purpose. I grew up in the A.M.E. Zion tradition and I was always taught that God blesses us with gifts and that we are supposed to serve a purpose on this earth. I still believe that and I believe that our lives are blessed (our needs are met, we are physically and emotionally healthy and we feel a certain electricity) when we are “walking in our purpose.”
Don’t get me wrong, I love being a teacher and I’m thankful to have a teaching job. But I feel like I am supposed to be a teacher on a much larger scale. When it comes to purpose – just because we’re good at something does not necessarily mean it’s our purpose. Just because we’re comfortable does not mean we’re “walking in our purpose.” I also have the same dilemma as Dr. West in that my activism and my professional life are fragmented. I have multiple roles that I’m juggling and I’d like to get to place where all of my gifts can be united. I don’t want to have to switch hats all the time.
Dr. West is literally at the top of mountain in terms of his career, but he feels a moral and internal obligation to leave the top of the mountain (maybe even sacrificing some of his financial wealth) to get back to the grunt work of moving in his purpose.
Everyday I try to do something to move me closer to my purpose – my divine purpose and mission in life. I also pray that my husband, my step children and even the little one growing in my womb also find and fulfill their purpose.
So… what’s your calling? How do you know that’s your calling? If you’re not doing it, what steps are you taking to do it?