Fifteen years ago, I answered my first calling. I felt my whole life had led to my becoming a police officer. I thought long and hard before deciding to test for the job. I consulted with friends, went through the pros and cons, and my strengths and weaknesses. I was determined to make sure this was the right job for me and I was right for this job. After much deliberation, I decided to do it. It’s hard to believe fifteen years have gone by. Being a law enforcement officer has made me question my sanity many times. For the most part, it has been a fun ride and a fulfilling career.
I am drawing near the end of this path and need to find a new career for the next several years of my life. I can hear my next calling. I know I want to work in animal rescue. I have once again begun to explore my options.
Over the years I have developed many skills I can use in this new line of work. I have even attended specialized training. I know I can do this and I know I can be good at it. Yet there is the catch in this plan, my limitations.
I cannot stand to see animals suffer, especially at the hands of humans. Animals forced to fight each other to the death is something I cannot stomach. The sights, the sounds, the smells, they all bring me to my knees. I never entered sex crimes investigations for the same reasons. Having seen child pornography haunted me for weeks on end. The images and sounds are forever burned in my mind. I admire my coworkers that can fight this battle and not loose their sanity.
So where do I go? What direction do I take? I hear my calling but I don’t know how to answer it. The skills are there, the passion is there but where it the niche? Where do I fit in?
Answering our calling is not an option. Unique gifts, talents and skills are give to us and others we develop over time. We are compelled to answer that calling. What would the world look like if no one answered his or her calling? What a lackluster world it would be. Both sides gain from an answered calling. The giver wins fulfillment and a destiny fulfilled. The receiver gets the help they could not give themselves.
So I ask you, what is your calling? Can you hear it? Do you plan to answer it?
I opted for surgery still unaware of the cause of these issues. The day I took my dog to the vet, I struggle to get him in my truck. He is a rather large statured dog weighing in at about 120 pounds. He stumbled getting in to my truck because his back leg hurt. I tried to pick him up but he crouched down and froze. Picking him up from the vet went much easier. He jumped in the back of my truck. The vet had removed his offending toe and he could now function much better.
On his follow up appointment, he jumped in the truck with ease. I now knew he had cancer. I also knew depending on how far it had spread, his remaining days could be anywhere from one month to eight months. He did not know. He had no idea. I glanced back and saw him sitting up and looking out the side window. I had folded the bench up and he is tall enough to be able to look out the window. He was enjoying the ride, completely unaware he is living on borrowed time. It brought me peace to see him enjoying his ride, living in the moment. In that moment, he unknowingly changed my perspective.
A few days later, he had one of the best days he has had in a long time. He was outside when I came home from work. This is a rare occurrence. When he heard my tires on the pavement, he picked up his head, perked up his ears and came running to greet me at the gate. He followed my truck, galloping behind it. When I got out of the truck, he galloped some more. That night he ate like he did when he was feeling well. It was a great day and we both knew it. This made me so happy. Each day since has been a bit of a struggle but we both ignore the fact he has cancer. We just enjoy each day for the gift that it is.
I also recently learned my mother has dementia. At first it was not noticeable. But now, when she is completely unaware that my father and brother are dead, it has become obvious. It was at this point that she too has turned a corner. She was angry about being in a rehab facility. Now that her dementia has progressed, she is just happy. It’s clear when I talk to her and others have noticed the same thing. Maybe there is a peace that comes with simply living in the prsent moment. Perhaps the peace is in not remembering the moments that rip out our hearts or anticipating the ones to come.
Whatever the answer is, I have decided it’s best to ignore the death sentences and be happy for each good day as the come.
How do you find balance in your life when there are so many demands on your time? Trying to achieve a balanced life is like looking for the end of the rainbow. You think you can see it but the closer you get to it, the end seems to shift. Is a balanced life an illusion like the elusive end of the rainbow?
Balancing your life is no diferent than a deal with the boss for better working conditions. We have so many bosses; kids, work, home, pets, spirituality, health, relationships. Each one has it’s own importance in our life and each one makes it’s demands on our time. We have to negotiate with each one for more time with another.
Sometimes it isn’t until our bodies and minds scream for mercy that we realize how unbalance we have become. Circumstances will force us to spend the vast majority of time on aspect of our life. But if we don’t pull ourselves back, we may suffer the consequences.
When I am at work I have no problems focusing on the tasks at hand. I have become adept at managing my time and maximizing my efficiency. When I leave work, my efficiency does not end there. I have a list that I use each day. It has the most mundane tasks on it such as feeding my dogs, doing the dishes, taking out the trash, you know the chores I am talking about. It gives me a great sense of accomplishment to check these tasks off each day.
I have great difficulty pulling my attention away from my home life to be social. But I do schedule social activities. The meetings with friends may at times be brief but I make sure I take the time to connect with them. I manage to find ways create the balance that is a necessity for everyone.
I admit there have been times where work urgencies have forced me to work several hours overtime. What happens then? Well, the chores just don’t get done. I pick them back up another day.
One area of my life I work hard to not get out of balance in is my sleep. I love sleep. My head is in a fog if I do not get enough sleep. Then I will chase that elusive balance the rest of the day, never quite catching it.
Balance for me is nothing more than making a list and prioritizing all the things that must get done. Some things are non-negotiable. Many things are.
How do you create balance in your life?