You know when the call comes, don’t you? That voice, quiet, in the recesses of your mind, filtering up from the heart and never the loud one (that one is spelled EGO) but the soft, still, albeit insistent whisper that says, “Do X.”
And X is always that thing you think you can’t do. It’s the, “Okay, God, you want me to do what? I think perhaps you’re confused today. You meant that message for Paula, sitting right over there,” finger pointing, “see her? Yeah, you meant for her to do X. Why, let me just trot over there and tell her.”
Because by not following that guidance, you fall back instead to telling everyone else how to live their lives. No? Isn’t it so much easier to fix everybody else’s world than your own? It’s so danged clear!
But that won’t make that voice go away. Ignoring it certainly mutes the words. Burying it keeps it at conscious bay. Refusing to follow will keep one’s fears under lock and key. But rest assured, all of that is buried but not dead. And the undead, like the zombies so in vogue, have pesky little ways of running amok.
One thing I know for true—we’re all on a hero’s quest. That’s what this life is about. Life is a winding, twisting, sometimes torturous plot. But it’s in that very plot where the richness lies, just as it does in myths and stories.
We all have our own “stuff” to overcome. We all have our wisdom to seek, our foibles to surmount, our brass rings at the end of the day to grasp. No matter what one’s life is about on the surface, to fully live it, that quest must be taken.
Of course it’s perfectly normal (and played out through every quest ever taken) that the hero first refuses the call. It occurs in every good story we experience. From some of our earliest known writings, this first act of the play bears out. I mean, look at Moses, saying, “You know, God, you didn’t mean me to lead these folks.” The quote in Exodus actually goes: “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”
Boy, do we know that one!
God wasn’t terribly swayed. And nothing about that has changed today.
That quest is that thing put before you. You know it in your heart. It may be through your profession. Or not. It may be climbing Mount Everest (literally), or descending into the darkness of that night into your very soul. It may be saving the world, or saving yourself. But you hear its call, you hear that voice. Hopefully before it becomes a zombie and eats your toes.
Because that gets all green and icky with more bodily fluids described than I care to get into, whether literally or figuratively.
We never want to begin it. Embarking on one’s true calling is never easy. It is a path fraught with demons, the way marked with potholes and mountains, temptations that boggle the mind. But it is, in the end, the only path worth taking.
And while the quest is certainly a lonely and solitary one, as Joseph Campbell said:
“Furthermore, we have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known. We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, and where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god. And where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves. Where we had thought to travel outward, we will come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we will be with all the world.”
What is that Call you’ve been denying?