Recently I have been thinking about vocation and what this world has to teach me after leaving the comfort of school. I’m hard pressed to think of a day in which the thought “what am I going to do with my life?” hasn’t crossed my mind. The realist in me refuses to fall into the romantic state of naivety in which I can leave college, find a job that will make a big difference in the world, and live happily ever after. I want to believe that it will be this easy, yet deep down I know that there is much more to be done. That change takes time and effort and can be incredibly draining. Yet all I want to do is follow this path. To change the brokenness I see around me.
This is part of the reason I participated in an Urban Immersion put on by the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches over winter break. During our few days there we were confronted with staggering statistics of poverty, hunger, and homelessness and taught about the current systems that cause such symptoms. When confronted with so many barriers it is hard not to be intimidated. After all, the easier path would be to ignore such things and go on with our lives. I came away from the experience with a lot to process which was immediately followed by a LCM leader retreat. It was at this retreat I was blessed with the prayer for discomfort (which you can read here). I was struck by one line in particular:
And may God bless you with enough foolishness
To believe that you can make a difference in the world
There is so much power in this line, in this idea that foolishness is a valuable attribute. Often we are taught that foolishness has no place in the road to success, that it is in fact a distraction to be avoided. Foolishness more often than not connotes idiocy, rather than being seen as a catalyst for change. This prayer reminded me that in a world where brokenness is commonplace, a cure can be found in foolishness. The foolishness to overcome great struggles though the reward be small. The foolishness to fight systems deeply ingrained in our culture, to make them change despite great resistance. I like this idea that in the setting of academia and intellect that surrounds us at school, that perhaps the most useful attribute to help us find our vocation and direct our future is some simple foolishness. It is comforting to know that wrapping myself in naivety, when paired with hard work can yield a direction and hopefully change that if not meaningful on the large scale, will be meaningful to someone.