The Human Vocation (vol.3, no. 11)

Here are a few things I’m sharing this month:

1. Question I’m living with:

  • “For me…it also opens up the question of, “What does it mean to be truly human?” Democracy is simply another way of speaking about that question. Religion is another way of speaking about that question. What is our purpose in this world, and is that purpose related to our responsibilities to each other and to the world itself? All of that seems to me to be a variety of languages getting at the same reality.” – Vincent Harding

2. Quote I’m considering:

  • “I would say to young people a number of things, and I have only one minute. I would say, let them remember that there is a meaning beyond absurdity. Let them be sure that every little deed counts, that every word has power, and that we can do, everyone, our share to redeem the world, in spite of all absurdities and all the frustration and all disappointments. And above all, remember that the meaning of life is to build life as if it were a work of art. You’re not a machine. When you are young, start working on this great work of art called your own existence.” – Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

3. Poem I’m pondering:

“Vocation” by William Stafford

This dream the world is having about itself
includes a trace on the plains of the Oregon trail,
a groove in the grass my father showed us all
one day while meadowlarks were trying to tell
something better about to happen.

I dreamed the trace to the mountains, over the hills,
and there a girl who belonged wherever she was.
But then my mother called us back to the car:
she was afraid; she always blamed the place,
the time, anything my father planned.

Now both of my parents, the long line through the plain,
the meadowlarks, the sky, the world’s whole dream
remain, and I hear him say while I stand between the two,
helpless, both of them part of me:

“Your job is to find what the world is trying to be.”

4. Something inspiring:

  • “People around the world recorded the sounds of their forests, so you can escape into nature” – listen to a random forest via (ht Recomendo)

5. From the vault: I Blamed Norman Rockwell (aka my “Let’s Keep Thanksgiving Expectations – especially in a time of high inflation – in Check” blogpost):

  • “We do not care if the turkey comes frozen from a box. We do not care if the cranberry sauce slides out of can shaped like a cylinder. And, we do not care if the mashed potatoes are made from a powder. In fact, a lot of us like it that way. But, here is the thing. All we want is you.”

If you’re reading this newsletter for the first time, you can read previous issues hereview lists of poems, questions, quotes and songs I’ve shared before here, and subscribe here.

Thanks so much. And, have a great day! – shawn