I don’t like the phrase “life is busy”. It is too easy to use “being busy” as an excuse or to justify our self-importance in our over-programmed lives. When I’m tempted to say I’m busy, I often instead say “life is full” – which is a way of acknowledging that life is really good, there is an abundance of work and other activities occupying my time, and that there is always enough time to be present to the person standing in front of me, even when there does not seem to be enough hours in the day to do everything else.
Well, I have to say, between my new job (it’s been almost a year, but still feels very new!) and a very full travel schedule – life is busy! Actually, life is too busy, and some important things are getting away from me.
A few weeks ago, media guy “Zach” contacted me and asked if I’d be willing to do an interview for his radio program. I said yes, we played email tag, I added the date to my calendar, and I put it out of my mind.
As a side note, I need to admit something: I’m an introvert and a writer. Radio interviews – where I am forced to spontaneously respond to questions out loud while being recorded – are not my favorite. There are no do-overs on live radio! But I generally say yes, because it’s an important vehicle to sharing the single life journey, and because it’s a good exercise in humility.
In my busyness, I failed to ask Zach some pertinent questions – like who are you? And who is this for? And who exactly will be doing the interview? The morning of the radio interview, I pulled out my standard set of “interview notes” and prepared to talk about the single life and Party of One. All in all, everything went fine, and I went about my “busy” day.
Much to my surprise, two days later, my photo showed up on the Twitter feed of America Magazine! Is there an emoticon for embarrassment? How did I get all the way through this interview without realizing I was talking with the editor of one of my favorite Catholic magazines!
You can listen to the podcast here and tell me what you think!
I share this story in light of today’s scripture readings – two wonderful stories about being called. I’m grateful for a church community that understands, appreciates, acknowledges and welcomes those called to the single life. Our pastor specifically mentioned the call to the single life in his homily this morning, and he preached about how “we never know how our vocation impacts others.” I certainly hope, that despite my busyness and distractedness, that this little podcast can make a difference for someone who is looking to be encouraged in their pursuit of the single life vocation!
Perhaps I can offer two other quick lessons for me in all of this, too:
Am I too busy to recognize the call? Sometimes we’re like Peter in the boat. We work really hard and we think we know where all the fish are located – but catch nothing. Jesus comes along and says, let me show you a different way, drop your net on the other side. The single life for me has been like “fishing in deep water” – it is an adventure in trust, patiently listening to Jesus’ call, and letting him show me where to drop my nets. We’ll never hear the call if we’re too busy. Fishermen are some of the most patient people I know! Likewise, busyness or being in a hurry does not make for good fishing. Knowing our vocation in life takes patient listening, prayer, and trust in God. Ultimately, you will know your vocation is right because of the fruit (or abundance of fish!) that it bears.
Second, God uses all that we have to offer, even our weaknesses. As I mentioned above, radio interviews can be a real source of humility for me. I often find myself second guessing: Did I say the right thing? Maybe I should have said that differently? Why did I tell that silly story? Yet, I know that despite my shortcomings, God can use this for something good (Rom 8:28) and my weakness can be a source of strength (2 Cor 12:9).
Today, Isaiah says, “I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips.” And Peter pronounces at the feet of Jesus, “Depart from me Lord, for I am a sinful man.” None of us is perfect, but God takes us as we are. Peter went so far as to deny Jesus, and yet Jesus never withdrew his offer for Peter to be one of his disciples.
The same is true in our own vocation story, whether we choose the married life, single life, or religious life. Sooner or later, we’re going to mess up! Yet somehow, in God’s infinite mercy and compassion and creativity, I know that God is still at work in my life. God uses moments of weakness to teach us to trust in him. God uses our inadequacy to lift up other people’s gifts. God draws close to us even when we sin in order to show us forgiveness. There is no limit to the ways God can use our gifts, talents, strengths, and passions – and yes, even our weaknesses.
May today be a good day to recognize God’s call and recommit ourselves to our chosen vocation!