What do you do?

I recently ended up bumping shoulders with a recent Peace Corps volunteer who was so inspired by her time overseas that she was eagerly and diligently raising money to go back. 

She speaks a tribal dialect of sign language that many people don’t, so she is teaching and connecting the deaf community in a small African village to valuable resources to help them learn about health and education.

That is what she does. That is what she wants to do. That is what she is called to do.

It’s amazing when we think about it, isn’t it? What we do defines who we are and how we live our lives. My new friend will be away from family for two more years, missing holidays and living alone as perhaps the only American some of the people in this African village will ever know.  

Or you could be more Nathan Myhrvold-like and not know how to answer the question, “What do you do?” But isn’t it more natural to be do many different somethings than one nothing? We aren’t single-faceted beings, but multi-faceted and to spend the number of hours doing the same thing that we have convinced ourselves is our “profession” isn’t as natural as we all pretend to be. Maybe, the reason you’re restless is because you have to be single-dimensional for eight hours a day, concentrated on the same general topic when you want to live in 3D and follow your curiosity. 

As I stare my last two semesters of Divinity School down, I have to wonder what is ahead. I just don’t think church work is going to look the same with the ever-changing economy. I just don’t think my job is going to be what it was like for my grandfather who was a minister. Maybe it’s time for us to admit that we weren’t made for jobs and professions that were designed and defined in the the 1950s.