Last week, I was sitting in a library in the middle of Wales. It had wifi, free, and was the only place in town that did. I felt free, too. Life there was as when I left my full-time journalism career; there are places one can just be, as one is, living a day for a day’s worth of the miracle of life itself.
But in the library, tucked away at a back-table, and yes, using wifi to check my email for notice of familial needs or disasters (yes, I note the irony) I heard a man come in to ask the gentleman-librarian if he could use the library’s only computer. He was looking for work. Desperately looking for work, from the tone of his voice and the words between them. The conversation went something like this:
“Here’s an ad for a private chef. . . . Do you think they’d hire me . . . ?”
“Well,” started the Librarian encouragingly, but the man cut him off.
“I’ve some experience in that — I’ve cooked here and there. . . .”. He sounded frightened. “Do you think that would be enough?”
“Well,” said the Librarian again encouragingly, “it sounds like good work! I would like to do something like that — be a chef. I cook . . . too . . .”. His voice dropped off into a bit of wistfulness.
“But do you think they’d want me,” asked the man. . . .
At this point, I nearly cried, both in compassion for both men in their early-forties, clearly wanting to be wanted by their work, but as well at the yearning in each of their voices:
Each wanted to feel to be valued for what he did with his time of his life.
One wanted to be wanted; any work would do but please hire him, now, I prayed.
The other would love doing something other than reminding 10-year-old boys that they needed parents’ permission to use one of the two computers available, which happened 3 times in the 1 hour I was there.
No, I didn’t stand up and say what my book — and I — fairly shouts at people:
You have a reason to be here on Earth…
It is to use your unique talents and specific abilities
in service of that which you care about in this world.
Your Life-time spent here,
doing the Work you are here to do,
Only you can do it!
It’s time to Create Your Work.
But I wanted to.
I wanted to take them both to the table and ask what each loved to do as a child and affirm that that joy is their path in this world even now.
I wanted to ask each what they could spend hours looking at, and what secret mission they felt they were on here,
during their lifetimes.
I wanted to remind each that he was not perfect at anything except at being himself, using his talents and gifts, passion and focus in service of that which he cares about — and thus each was perfectly able to create his own work that would support him all his days by being his best, shining self.
I sat, heart-pounding, wondering what to do next . . .
Instead, the seeker, encouraged to give it one more go by the gentle nudge he’d received from the librarian, dashed out to make an enquiring call before someone else took the cook position. And the Librarian announced to me (only me left in the two-room library) that it was time for lunch and he was “kicking me out” in 3 minutes. As we left, I watched him saunter shyly down the block, looking randomly in shop windows, and heading to the local market for a quick something.
I felt I’d been shown the light, as well as the door, as I stumbled out into the fair and beautiful day in this lovely small village where it seemed everyone knew and cared for others’ welfare.
I yearn to speak to people like this, in these small, out of the way places where hope and desperation so often dance hand in hand and a sense of dissatisfaction with one’s lot hides behind ‘any good job’ which is better than no job at all, of course. Of course it is, until one day one is still missing the feeling of being vital to one’s Purpose and Task here in the time one has on Earth.
These fellows are not people who attend seminars at a fancy hotel as so many self-help lecturers offer, but they are just like those who can and would do attend one to nurture themselves. These lovely people are also souls wanting to know the work they do with their life-time is needed and vital, and something each can contribute to this world. They, too, would like to know that they have what they need to create their own work; to live Life On Task and On Purpose, in the joy that brings to each day, and how to do that.
This is what I like to offer. It’s best in person, but sometimes a book of questions will have to do. If it’s accompanied by a friend or co-seeker, all the better.
Whose job is it to nurture vocation?
Is it a job-hire agency, where any work is better than none and pursue what you can?
Is it the work of the church to offer more than a few days’ course each year on what one’s vocation really feels and looks like? And if so, does it reach those needing to feel wanted or vital, or living through the quiet desperation looking for one’s Work the rest of the year?
Should it be offered in schools, as a course, along with Life-skills 101 including banking, balance statements, and parenting skills?
I feel discovering the Work that puts each of us On Task and On Purpose is so important it belongs in all of the above, and maybe even as a free-table at the local Pub.
The point is this: such work of discovery has no season but rather is the beginning of your journey, wherever you are in life at this moment.
Yes, every moment is a “here you begin” moment to embrace your unique talents and passion, and to connect with the light and vitalness felt when shining from within combines with one’s sense of being needed on Earth here and now — i.e. having a purpose, and a mission-should-you-decide-to-accept-it — is lived.
I can do this with your help: we can do this together.
Gather with friends and go through the book. Email me with questions.
Set up groups that can be tailored to fit anyone in need of encouragement and hope in your community.
Remember too that any workshops I offer are one-for-one. Put together a workshop in your town or village with ten to twenty others, and we’ll make sure we offer another — together — at very-very-little-cost* using the book as a living, exploratory process.
We all live in a moment of being authentic and our work and value needed in this world. It’s right now.
And there is someone very near you — right now — wondering if he or she is wanted or his/her energy and passion needed on a mission in life.
Here You Begin, and help the person next to you do so as well…
Together we can nurture a world of souls shining On Task and On Purpose. Wouldn’t that be a lovely place to live? Heaven on Earth.
*Low-low cost: enough to feel committed; cheap enough to attend when $1/Eu1/£1 is the difference between having lunch or paying rent and pay-what-you-can is the welcoming possibility to discover one’s Life-time OTOP mission.