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Vocation — A Reflection

November 15, 2021
Sister Moon (90.7% Waxing Gibbous) over our deck

It’s hard to believe (at times) that I have been in my vocation as a Pastor and Chaplain for over 34 years. And 31 years ago today I arrived at my first duty station as a Chaplain, Captain in the Air Force. When I take the time to simply Be Still and reflect on this calling, I am simply amazed. Amazed that I have somehow by the grace of God maintained my sense of humor and sanity.

When your life intersects with so many people in the midst of trauma, grief, fear, loss, etc, it is difficult not to absorb some of it yourself. I know that I am not alone and that I have had the honor/privilege to walk with so many care providers and first/last responders as they wrestle with the reality of grief and loss professionally and personally. Every now and then it hits me and this past week with ministry opportunities and personal loss.

It is at times like this that I remain thankful for the calling that God has given me. When I finally responded to God’s call on the banks of the Chippewa River in Eau Claire, Wisconsin in mid-October of 1980, I had no idea where this calling/vocation would take me.

So as I sit and ponder these things tonight, Thomas Merton speaks to me in a way that only a brother, friend, and mentor can. What on earth am I doing here?” I have answered it a million times. “I belong here,” and this is no answer. In the end, there is no answer like that. Any vocation is a mystery, and juggling with words does not make it any clearer. (A Search for Solitude: Pursuing the Monk’s True Life, The Journals of Thomas Merton, Volume 3 — November 15, 1957) Yes indeed, by the grace of Gos I do belong here.

  1. The world is richer because you said yes, on the banks of the Chippewa River. Blessings old friend.

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