In the few years since my cancer diagnosis, I’ve had more conversations about the sad parts of life than I have in all my years before the diagnosis combined. Sharing my own story with others, especially in the form of a book, has provided avenues for others to share their own struggles and grief with me.
After reading my book, a friend shared with me some of her struggles with mental illness. She then asked whether I feel burdened by the frequent conversations about my own—and others’—pain. While I wish we all had much less sorrow in our lives, I’m keenly aware that’s not the case. Talking about the tough stuff simply is what life is about these days. And recently I’ve even come to see it as my new vocation.
In contemporary conversations about vocation, we often talk about finding or choosing a vocation. We take strength-finder inventories; we envision where we’d like to be in ten years and what we need to do to get there. Much reflection on vocation in the past, however, has characterized vocation as something given to us, even when we’d prefer to be doing something else.