I had a post a couple weeks ago regarding callings…the holy kind. I think Jeff Staples’ comment was the most helpful:

One of my favorite professors here says that discernment is about the intersection of three things. Discover what brings you joy. Discover what you’re good at. Discover what the world needs. The intersection of those three things at any given moment is your calling. If (as I think you might be) you’re choosing between two good options, listen to where your desires are strongest and deepest. I think God wants us to be most fully ourselves, so I think that for some people emotion may play a significant role in the decision-making process, and I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.

At the end of the day, knowing what you’re called to do means knowing who you are. It’s not a one-time deal, based on an isolated decision that impacts the rest of your life. It’s about living in a way that is in touch with your real identity, and the more you understand about that the more all of your actions and decisions are just an extension of yourself.

Kind of a ramble, let me know what you think or if it was helpful (or not).

The paraphrase originated from Father Michael Himes, a professor of theology at Boston College (where Jeff goes to school if you didn’t make that connection). Jeff was able to give me some more information about Father Himes thoughts: Three Keys to Intersection and a book Doing the Truth in Love: Conversations About God, Relationships, and Service.

I read the web page and I requested the book be sent over from Regis (they were the only library which had the book which makes it rather fitting I think).

I really like the concept of Three Keys to Intersection. I’ve know what I wanted to do for a long time now. It what brings me joy, which Himes differentiates from happiness because “[joy]comes from within and has to do with a deep and abiding sense of the rightness, the goodness, the fruitfulness of what you do with your life” whereas happiness “often depends on external things, your physical well being, the weather, whether you had a good night’s sleep or a good meal.” I think the joy/happiness differentiation also helps explain my love/hate paradox of Mines. In any event, the current thing that brings me joy is working on space exploration and that’s what I am doing and that’s what I’m going to continue to do for now.

I suppose it helps that I’m good at what I do, at least in theory. Himes also notes that knowing what I’m good at may not be a cut-and-dried answer and that there are people in my life who might be able to use to act as a mirror.

The final key to the puzzle is need. Not what I need, but what others need. To me, this seems like a “no duh” point, but I see people making this same mistake all the time and I pretty sure I’m not immune to it either. You could probably fill entire encyclopedias with stories of young and hot programmers who couldn’t just wait to code something, only to find out that it was something that nobody wanted.

That brings me to the Venn diagram I made up and included above. It has all three aspects: Joy, Ability, and Need. The intersection of those three circles is my target — my calling.

There’s a fourth point worth noting as well. What brings me joy, the abilities I have, and what the world need are all constantly changing. “We are constantly searching, not just for answers to our questions, but for new questions. We are explorers. We explore our lives, day by day.” 1

There’s a reflection part of the Three Keys to Intersection. One of the questions asks:

Perhaps you now find yourself entertaining several life choices. That would not be surprising at all. Vocational discernment is an evolving process, a journey. Your goals may change several times as you try out some choices and learn more about the match between your passions and the world’s needs. But do you feel that you are growing in possession of the kind of knowledge that will enable you eventually to narrow down these choices in the future or to figure out how to combine them?

1 See https://andrewferguson.net/2008/01/22/constantly-searching/

Boston: Day Two

Note: This actually took place 10/14/2007. I’m just super busy and haven’t been able to get it all typed up until now.

The following takes place between 6ampm and 2am, Boston Local Time:

Three hours of sleep is not near enough. Fortunately, it was race day and the adrenaline began rushing soon after the alarm went off. We were all out by 6:40am and had Colin dropped off around 7am.

We drove to the prime spectating spot and then found a Dunkin’ Donuts for breakfast.

DSC_0835 It wasn’t long before Colin made his first appearance. I think he took us all by surprise since when had no idea where he was in the pack. Jeff, Tim, James, and Elizabeth were ready with Gatorade, goo, and change of clothes. I stood back a bit with the camera.

DSC_0847 Colin shed his hat and jacket and kept on running. It would be about an hour before we saw him again. Elizabeth, with some input for others, made a hilarious sign for Colin.

DSC_0865 The next time around, we were a bit more ready. Gatorade and goo hand off, plus a little bit of running along by Tim.

DSC_0852 As we later learned, Colin never notice the sign. Which is unfortunate because it’s awesome.

Once more around the loop for Colin. Tim and James when a couple miles down the way to prepare for jelly bean dispensing (pure sugar for a quick energy boost). Meanwhile, Jeff, Elizabeth, and I moved across the bridge for the third meeting.

DSC_0941 Colin was looking good. The last Gatorade and goo handoff when without a hitch and Colin was on his way. The three of us jumped into the van and drove to the finish line.

Traffic was hectic near the end. With streets blocked off, runnings in the road, and bridges closed, it was near impossible to get around. Jeff dropped Elizabeth and me off near the stadium where the finish line was. We started into the arena when I saw Colin passing me on my left.

Not wanting to miss him finishing, I took off in a dead sprint to beat him into the stadium. Unfortunately, I had no idea where I was going and was almost bear hugged by a volunteer to prevent me from racing onto the field.

DSC_0984 I back tracked a few paces, whipped out my camera and had plenty of time to capture Colin crossing the finish line.

DSC_1001Colin recovered pretty quickly. We doddled around the stadium for a while, took a group picture to commemorate Colin’s Boston Marathon Qualifying Time, and then headed back to BC.

I had a nap on the way back since I was dead tired.

We had dinner when we got back; which reminds me that BC has pretty fantastic dining service. It’s frustrating that Mines is locked into Aramark, because they do a pretty shitty job. This, however, is a topic for another day.

To cap of the day, Jeff and I went to Mass. I think I’ve only been to Mass once before, and that was for Stephanie’s High School Graduation. My Mom’s cousin was married this summer and they had a Catholic wedding, but no Mass (although we all bet heavy money that there would be one).

Boston: Day One

The following takes place between 1pm and 3am, Boston Local Time:

The plan for the day was simple, go back to Jeff’s place and sleep some more. Then, get up and go to Chelmsford and check into a hotel to watch the Boston College at Notre Dame game. The next morning Colin would run the BayState Marathon in his attempt to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

We woke up around one in the afternoon, had a bit of breakfast (i.e. the bagel and cream cheese we picked up that morning), and then took off.

We made a stop at a local market to get some food and Jeff and I picked up some Arrogant Bastard. We hopped on the highway, only to figure out about 25 minutes later that we were on the wrong highway. As it turned it, we going in generally the right direction and we were able to get to Chelmsford without any major rerouting/back tracking.

We checked into the hotel and then Colin, James, and I drove into Lowell so that Colin could check in.

Check in was as at Lowell High School (Random Wikipedia trivia: Lowell High School opened in 1831 as the first co-educational high school in the United States and is currently the state’s second-largest public high school). We all decided that:

  1. All high schools look the same, no matter the state, and
  2. Being in high schools when there aren’t high school kids around is still kind of weird.

On the way back, we stopped by Dunkin’ Donuts which seems to be the thing to do when your in Boston. James introduced and treated me to the iced regular coffee, which is actually coffee with cream and sugar. So thanks James, you’ve got me hooked on something else ;).

We made another stop at a grocery store to find the rest of the items Colin would need for the next days marathon, and then to the beer store because it seems that most grocery stores don’t sell alcohol of any sort (not even 3.2%).

DSC_0803 One of things I try to do is sample the variety of beers, always trying to find something great. If I go to a restaurant and see a new beer on the list, I’ll try it. If I’m far away from home (such as in Boston) and I’ll try to look for beers that aren’t in Colorado/Seattle. We picked up Samuel Adams October Fest (I can probably get this in Colorado/Seattle, but it’s Samuel Adams and I’m in Boston….so, I kinda had to), UFO Hefeweizen, and a Magic Hat of a type I can’t recall (help anyone?).

DSC_0808 Boston College beat Notre Dame. We hit a up a Applebee’s-type place called The 99 Restaurant or maybe just 99, I’m not quite sure. It was good food and decent service, plus a good time had by all.

It was approaching 9pm local time, so we headed back to the hotel and jumped into the hot tube for a half hour or so before heading back up. It was 10:30ish by time I was dried off. People started to head to bed and the lights were out by 11:15pm.

I however, was still pretty awake (remember that it was only 9:15pm in my mind and I had woken up at 1pm local time…a double whammy). I basically spent the next 4 hours watching Boston loose it to the Indians in the ALCS and then time on the interwebs getting caught up on my feeds and email.

I finally made it to bed around 3am, just in time to get around three hours of sleep.