I was reading a Guideposts story recently and it was really beautiful – let me see if I can give you the gist of it. A pastor was at an event, mingling, and asked a woman what she does for a living. She said, “I listen to people.” The pastor assumed that she was a counsellor or similar job. As the day went on, conversations continued, and it turned out that the woman’s paycheck came from being a grocery-store cashier. That was where she listened to people.
We often think that there are certain jobs that are “callings” – certain jobs that are holy, set apart; certain jobs that help people connect to one another and find solace or healing in life. We usually think those jobs entail a lot of training, diplomas, offices, etc. What the story above shows is that wherever we are is indeed holy – sacred – a place of transformation – a place where love changes the world.
This woman listened. She knew that changing the world meant being changed – listening, hearing, pondering, praying. She was ready to be not only an agent of change, but a person who can recognize wonder in the world and receive it throughout her being.
I wonder, for myself, how do I want to be different because of my place in the world – the bits that make me “me.” I grew up in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s on the east coast of the USA. That was one “place.” There has always been a part of me that wanted to see other places – not just see, but listen and understand and be changed. No one was really surprised when we announced our move to Malaysia. This is my way of living in this world, and it is how I grow into being changed by my location in time and space.
For others, the answer to this question will be very different. People who live their whole lives in one zip code will be changed just as much as I, if they are open to the world right at their doorstep. The main thing is to ask the question, and listen to our heart’s answer.