Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything. –Rev. Pedro Arrupe, SJ
If you’re like me, you didn’t know what you wanted to be when you grew up. You didn’t know what you wanted to major in in college. And you didn’t have a three- or a five- or a ten-year plan.
And if I am honest, I’m not entirely sure how I got to where I am professionally. The one thing I do know is that I have always tried to be true to the person that God created me, and love myself enough to make choices accordingly.
When I first started out, I didn’t know what I wanted to do or be. I just wanted a job in the hopes that I would figure that out along the way. So, I took a few jobs to pay the bills, left a couple of jobs that ate away at my soul, and found a job where the people and the work fit. I even fell in love there–with a man and with a direction for my life.
I came down with a bad case of the flu one winter. Spent hours on the couch. During the very brief half hours when I was awake, I decided to update my resume. It took a couple of days, and at the end of one particularly enjoyable nap, I reread what I had constructed, and it hit me. I loved teaching! A huge–unexpected–revelation.
Against the better advice of my co-workers, I got a job teaching high school, and had the four most successful, difficult, fulfilling, frustrating, amazing years of my young career. I had let myself “fall in love” over the course of those four years, and it did decide everything.
When I had the chance to leave my home of 13 years, move to a new city and new job, it was the loving support of my friends and the love that I had found in working with young people that enabled me to say “yes.”
In the professional decisions that followed, the question that has been at the center has always been, “Who am I called to love and how?”
I was privileged to meet Fr. Arrupe once, and was struck by his warmth and humility. His journey as leader of the Jesuits was filled with highs and lows, but it always seemed to come back to the question, “Who am I called to love and how?” It’s probably taken a while, but I think I am finally beginning to understand how to answer the question, “What do I want to be when I grow-up?”