Monthly Archives: September 2013

A Parable About My Call

Imagine you’re a trained brain surgeon. And you get dropped in some bizarro world where hospitals won’t work on brains. They know brains exist, and that they have problems sometimes, but this is the purview of some other field and there is no brain surgery. So what do you do?

Maybe you take your medical training and go work at a hospital anyway, applying what you know to other parts of the body and being some other kind of doctor. Maybe you’re plenty good at it, and you help a lot of people. Meanwhile, though, whatever drew you to be a brain surgeon in the first place is getting ignored. You occasionally see a patient who needs brain surgery- maybe you can do something small and secretive for them, but you’re dodging regulations and you don’t have all the equipment you need. More importantly, you know how many patients desperately need your skills that you never see, because no one knows to refer them for brain surgery.
Maybe instead you avoid the hospital system. You set up some kind of alternative practice, where you assemble the equipment you need and you advertise your skills and you get patients that way. A few doctors perhaps hear about what you do and refer patients to you. You are nevertheless treated as a strange alternative medicine, untrusted by the majority of people, and unable to accept medical insurance. You either see only the very rich who can afford to pay you well, or accept a tiny pittance for your work, perhaps funding it through some alternative extra employment. Meanwhile, many doctors discredit your brain surgery and advise patients not to seek you out, in spite of your competence and demonstrated results.
This is how my call feels right now. These are the two options I seem to have. Work in the church on something else, unable to talk about my real passion and skills, out of legitimate fear of being driven out for being honest. Or set up something completely outside the church, built from scratch, with none of the resources and community that already exist there.
I don’t like either one of those options. If I knew what else to do with myself, anything else at all, I would do it in a heartbeat.
I hate being called. There’s a calm, consistent tug on my soul toward…. something…. and every time I try to point it at anything specific, I just wind up sobbing in the shower and wishing I had any real, employable skills. I just don’t know any more.