photo by Queen Naveen
We are continuing our celebration of responsible this month, and I am honored to share with you some thoughts from Leigh Kramer on what it means to be responsible to your calling, even if that calling changes as time passes:
A person's calling might change over time.
When I worked as a hospice social worker, I was convinced it was what I was meant to do. When
my great-aunt and, subsequently, my grandmother required my organization's services, I took the
unfortunate events as affirmation. My family grew to understand my work in a more intimate way. I
was honored to shepherd them through that time, though not without personal cost.
Still, when my then-coworkers anxiously worried I would quit as a result of my mourning, I reassured
them that this is where I was meant to be. I had no intention of quitting and was surprised by their
My family soldiered through back-to-back losses and life continued on. A year or so later, I wondered
if they were right. I was no longer sure that hospice was my calling. Perhaps I had been there “for such
a time as this.”
Meanwhile I pictured the rest of my life continuing on just as it was. I didn't like what I saw.
I had a choice. Take action or let life meander by.
It wasn't like I had a bad life. I didn't hate my job. I was surrounded by friends and family. Church
was good. The White Sox weren't back to the 2005 World Series Champion glory days but they were
doing all right. Everything was fine. Yet I didn't feel fine.
Several years ago a boy, in the midst of pursuing me, told me that God was going to do great things
through my life. This bold statement was not part of his wooing process- and the relationship was
ultimately doomed- but it stuck with me. I've wondered in the intervening years how God would use
me, whether this moment was it or something greater than I could ever ask or imagine still lies ahead.
His words might have tucked away in a corner of my mind but a few years ago, a woman I met at a
conference said the same thing. I knew my calling was metamorphosing by that time. But I didn't know
what would come next.
How could God use me? What else might I do? Were my lifelong dreams and wishes a part of that
While I pray over my decisions, I believe that a time comes when we must use the minds God gave
us and make a choice. I was no longer content to live in this “in between” space. Working but
feeling unfulfilled. Longing for dreams that might not ever be realized. Surrounded by good things
but realizing it wasn't enough. And at the heart of all that, recognizing that I did not live in enough
dependence on God.
I free-fell last spring. That's not entirely accurate. Perhaps I've been free-falling this whole year. If I
hadn't dared to move to Nashville last year, I likely would not dare what I do now.
In the background since childhood has been my little hope of being an author some day. A person
who writes stories that people love to read. In the years that I've been blogging, but especially the last
couple of years, I've found myself filled with stories again. Characters that won't leave me alone, that
beg me to write.
And so I have been. But writing in stolen moments when I wasn't exhausted from work is no longer
enough. While my choice would not be everyone's, I'm grateful I'm in a position to quit my day job
and run hard after this dream of mine.
In the month leading up to my last day of work and in the few weeks that have followed, affirmation
after affirmation has followed.
I can't say that social work is no longer my calling for good. Right now it's enough that my calling is to
write and to see where it takes me.
This season also opens my life to be available for others in a way that I wasn't before. Maybe another
opportunity lurks around the corner. Maybe not.
For now, I take this dream one step at a time. All that is required of me is to write. Whether you see
my name in print one day will not be confirmation of my calling.
My calling is confirmed with each word I put on the page.
In May 2010, Leigh Kramer intentionally uprooted her life in the Chicago suburbs by moving to Nashville in an effort to live more dependently on God. She writes about life in the South, what God has been teaching her, and her ongoing quest for the perfect fried pickle. You can follow her adventures on Twitter and her blog HopefulLeigh.