Eric Immel has a nice post on temptation and the call to love here. It may seem that persons with spouse, children, house, and Oldsmobile have that progression all figured out. But behind the veneer of happy dinner gatherings, and weddings days, and such, most of us, now and then, also question, “Is this all?”
My alumni magazine arrived the other day and I spent some time with it this morning. I was struck by a short feature on a university administrator who, after graduating in 1969, worked his way up from counseling students, getting a graduate degree, and moving into a role in which he influenced some significant projects that expanded the university in a good way, building connections with the nearby community. Forty-six years with one community, and now he’s heading to retirement. Has a plaza named after him. Almost incomprehensible to me.
I was thinking about my own brief and aborted career at my alma mater. I spent several months working in development as the university experimented with telemarketing and had hired a consulting firm to assist them. A friend in the office and I thought we had absorbed a lot of know-how and pitched an idea to a colleague in the permanent office. It almost got us fired. Then I was bypassed for a permanent, entry-level position in the administration building. I considered a path that took me from spare change as a student caller, to a fixture in the temporary office, and then nowhere.
Not nowhere, exactly. I had the motivation to get serious about grad school. And ministry. But as I was pondering this morning, I thought about a bigger salary, a bigger house. Heaven forbid, a big car. A totally different life. I’d probably have to learn how to play golf.
I think the call to love is a constant for the Christian disciple. Whether or not she or he knows it. Family or religious community. Dream job, or something much smaller. Saint Ignatius had a good bead on this. The more I read of Jesuit writers and saints, the more I’m convinced the singular calling is to love more deeply. Love the people where you are. All of them, I would guess.