In my penultimate year of high school, our class was required to fill out one of those computer-generated “tests” that helped determine your propensity for certain vocations. It was a lengthy and arcane bit of business, and when the results were in the two most highly recommended vocations for yours truly were: #1) Floral Artistry, and #2) The Military.
Both options presented some serious drawbacks for this all-too-hetero all-too-Mennonite ploughboy. Fortunately(?), the test required an appointment with our school guidance counsellor, so I shuffled to his office with these results in hand, very much intent on getting genuine guidance.
He was a genial, relaxed man with a handlebar mustache. As we talked, he propped his feet on his desk and smiled at me. The first thing he said about my test results was, “These things aren't definitive in any way. At their best, they might provide some unusual possibilities you might not have considered before.” He looked at me, his smile very much fixed in place and growing creepier with each passing second.
“I dunno, man,” I said. “I mean, florist or soldier – either one seems like a stretch.”
That creepy smile. The feet on the desk, hands folded across his belly – and silence. “Your father's a pastor,” he finally said. “Have you given any consideration to the ministry?”
I stammered and said, No, not really.
“Well,” he said, his smile sinking deeper, taking on a knowing quality, “maybe you just haven't received The Call yet.”
This was a Mennonite high school I attended, and my father was a known entity. Even so, I was gobsmacked. A quarter-century later, I'm still non-plussed by his assertion. Of course, it could simply be a matter of my not receiving The Call ... yet.
Here's where I currently work:
At Cafe Rhythm & Books I cook and serve the weekend breakfast menu (chiefly baked french toast, and an assortment of crepes). I do some organizing of the book selection. I'm hoping to launch my own book here, next month.
I'll leave it at that, for now. Lately I've been thinking a lot about vocation, so I'll try to hash out some of what I've considered, particularly as it relates to genealogy and social expectations (subjects with which I have more than a passing familiarity). And today, the fifth-year anniversary of when so many of our citizens were killed at their place of work, seems like an appropriate time to start.