I love to watch TV chefs. One personality that brightens the day is Michael Symon, one of the hosts of The Chew. He was recently on vacation in Puglia, Italy 15 other friends and family. They rented a farm house and spent a couple of weeks relaxing and eating. Michael and fellow chef Bobby Flay did all the cooking. When asked why he didn’t take a break from cooking he said cooking relaxes him; it was not work but his vocation.
A vocation or calling expresses the core of who we are. If we are fortunate we may also draw an income from it. A job may simply be a source of income that we are willing to perform but is not coming from our core identity. It’s a joy when the two come together. Many who are parents, clergy, medical professionals, counselors, teachers and artists find that they cannot do the job unless it’s a real vocation. But most people I suspect cannot combine their life passion with their jobs and their jobs often leave little time for their vocaions.
When we frustrate our vocations we cut off a vital part of who we are. Alone or with others, when we immerse ourselves in our passion we find that our lives and the lives of those around us are enhanced. Yet many experience a great deal of inner conflict regarding vocational interests. They deprive themselves of this life-giving opportunity. Sometimes even their family members criticize them for taking time to pursue their vocations.
Balance is the key. Carving out a few hours a week for a vocational “shot in the arm” offers us well-deserved spiritual energy that puts us back in touch with our core. Pursuing our passion helps us to be better people and more effective in our jobs and at home. One caveat: we need to prioritize our responsibilities and the primary vocations that we’ve chosen (such as marriage and raising a family) that may often trump our other passions. What communication needs to occur in order to find the balance of our priorities? We might even discover new ways to experience our personal passions by involving our spouse and children on some level and helping them discover their life-giving vocations as well.
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