“There’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.” -Morpheus, The Matrix
I’ve always been a dreamer. As children we are told we can be anything we want, just name it and claim it. Funny thing is if you go way outside the box, that blanket invitation to the riches of the world or to the far-fetched job of your choice is quickly reeled back in.
I grew up in the Catholic Church and went to Catholic schools for 13 years. When I was in 8th grade, nuns from the local nunnery came to my class to talk to us about vocations and the calling of God. As a dedicated Catholic girl, I received their message with open arms. They performed a little skit with a telephone, one nun got a call.
Guess who was on the other line?
It was God of course.
That simple, she got her calling to be a nun. It was seemed way too easy, I actually raised my hand in doubt. I was in disbelief that my calling to a vocation or career would come to me that easy. Their response was with faith anything is possible, I just needed to keep on the look out.
I was not too happy about that response but was determined to get my calling in the next few weeks. I figured if this nun could get a fictitious call, if I really looked at all the clues or signs I was certain it would happen faster.
A week passed and nothing. No divine intervention, no Angels at my doorstep, no mystery calls, NOTHING!
The following week I was in a history class when my teacher mentioned that people’s last names were often derived from the type of work they did- ie a Blacksmith’s last name was Smith. As a history enthusiast I was quickly intrigued by this tidbit, to only be quickly pissed because I just knew that my unique, foreign last name had no meaning. I was certain that if only I had a classic American last name, I would have stumbled upon my career calling from God. You have to admit the timing was uncanny!
Perturbed, I went home and told my dad the information I learned about careers and last names having correlations. With a sigh, I said too bad our last name “EL-Khouri” doesn’t have a meaning or I’d know what God wanted me to do.
He was confused by that but replied, “Of course our last name has a meaning. In Arabic, Khoury means Priest.”
Priest! My eyes lit up and a light bulb went off, this was it. This was my calling!
I was soooo convinced that I was destined to be a priest. I rushed to school the next day and told people I got my calling to be a priest. I was done, my career was spoken for. No one could tell me anything different.
How could the y say anything? After all it was my calling!
Of course I know women can’t become a priest in the Catholic Church and that my vocation would be looked down upon because I was a girl. The first few people I told, said I got it wrong. There was no way I could ever be a priest. So if I really did think it was my calling, I should think more about being a nun.
That would seem like the natural leap to make. But I instantly thought giving up the right to procreate or get married to be a nun was not good enough, if I was going to give all those things up I had to be a leader, a trailblazer. It was Priest or nothing. I was convinced I would be the one to change the Vatican’s mind., make them see that I was a leader and way to awesome, they had to put me in charge!
Well I was only 13, what did I really know? I was way too young to determine my life’s path at point. Hell I still think I’m too young to see my entire careers path. But what I did learn from that moment in my life, is that I’ve always had the heart and will of a trailblazer. I did not take No for an answer and I was willing to buck the system for what I wanted. I challenged priest and nuns, even leaders at the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
That gumption and drive for what I want has been strong in me for a long time. So maybe that was my calling, not necessarily to be a Priest but to be a trailblazer and push the system.
Where have you found your calling?