Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Fit For a Calling

Preparing For A Calling (a post in 2 parts)
Franz Eduard Meyerheim (1838-1888) German Painter

Miss Charlotte Mason was "quite sure" about something. It was that a calling, "comes to the person who is ready for it. That is why the all-round preparation of body, mind, soul, and heart is necessary for the young knight who is waiting to be called," she says.

Her word "knight"paints a picture. A calling is a "royal service." Higher than serving any Lord of the Manor, however, we serve our Lord God, the Maker of heaven and earth, "who," she says, "fixes the bounds of our habitation, [and] does not leave us blundering about in search of the right thing. . . " because he fits us to the world we live in.*1

My summer project finished, an autumn table thingy
If he finds us waiting, ready and willing, He gives us a call.

"It may come in the advice of a friend, or in an opening that may present itself, or in the opinion of our parents, or in some other of the quiet guidings of life that come to those who watch for them, and who are not [self-centered]; or it may come in a strong wish on our own part for some particular work for which we show ourselves fit, " says Miss Mason.

We may not know how it comes but we can be sure that

we have not
because we ask not *2

that if we avail ourselves to be of service to God and mankind that it will come whether it is to be a butcher, baker, or candlestick maker . . . doctor, lawyer, Indian chief, etc.

Hand-quilted, machine flange binding, the batting is cotton flannel cloth.
But each person, says Miss Mason to young people, "requires preparation of his calling; first, the general preparation of being a person ready and fit; and next, a special preparation of training or teaching ...." but "it rests with us to fit ourselves for our vocation."

We do this, remembering that the worth of any calling depends upon our willingness to serve and be of use. Let "no day. .  go by without giving . . practice in usefulness. Each one is wanted for a special bit of work he is fit for; and of each it is true that -

Thou cam'st not to thy place by accident:
It is the very place God meant for thee." *3

Our trees out back. 
This post is my edit of a message given to young people by Charlotte Mason in her book, Ourselves Bk 1. page 209, 210.
*1 Colossians 3:23-24, Ephesians 6:7
*2 James 4:2
*3 Charlotte Mason is quoting a well-know piece of verse by Richard Chenevix Trench, a poet and Anglican Archbishop (1807-1883) whose life overlapped hers.

A young lady makes these thin crisp butter cookies.
Is Motherhood a Calling?

If you've heard my Mother Culture talk you might remember my young son's question. We were discussing professions. He asked, "Ma, what's the lowest paying job?"

My first answer was,"Making french fries at a fast food restaurant." But then another vocation popped to mind. "No. Wait a minute. I know a lower paying job than that," I said.

"What is it?" he said.

"You're looking at it," I said.

A mother, homemaker, home teacher, must fit herself with dedication, faithfulness, knowledge, and a variety of skills. Her list of duties and responsibilities is long. Yet she is paid no salary.

Google the antonym for "professional" and you get "amateur." A mother, homemaker, home teacher is an amateur. And yet she carries out her service as of "unto God" as well as she can. But an amateur is not really the opposite of a professional. It has a special meaning.

Inside the word amateur is the Latin word "amare" - to love. A mother, homemaker, home teacher, does what she does for the love of it. All that she does, she does for love. She loves and is loved in return. This is her high calling. This is her special service. Without this calling the world would suffer.

Here's a story about a calling of love. Over the summer I read A Lantern in Her Hand  by American author Bess Streeter Aldrich (1881-1954).

A friend told me that she read it first as a young lady. Again when she was married with a succession of babies. Years later, when her children were flying out of the nest. With each read she was encouraged in a different way. I can understand why. The story traces the life of Abbie, a pioneer woman of Nebraska, from a young girl of the 1850s, to a grandmother in the 20th century.

Along her seasons of life we pick up little morsels of wisdom. Bess Streeter Aldrich wrote this story in the 1920s in admiration of her own mother. Much research on the details of covered-wagon-days went into the book. Many were first-hand sources. They came to Mrs. Aldrich in the form of handwritten letters. Listeners of her radio interview were invited to share their reminiscence with her. Surprisingly letters came pouring in.

Amidst the mind-set of me-first, Abbie's life shines in contrast. This is the benefit of reading A Lantern in Her Hand. It challenges us to be of generous of heart. To take courage in adversity. To patiently not grow weary in the good work we do as amateurs. This story helps us understand what love is. (A brief kissing scene in an early chapter might fool the reader that this is a romance novel. It is not.)

I placed our lantern in the back garden for this post.
In the sequel, A White Bird Flying,  the main character is one of Abbie's granddaughters. It takes place in the "modern" days of the 1920 and 30's. Reading the last page brought a tear of joy to my eye. It was a nice page in which to end a day. I like happy endings.

Do you sometimes feel the need to be encouraged by another who has gone before you? I recommend this gentle story, A Lantern In Her Hand.  Sold on Amazon. My copy is on Kindle. I would have given this book to my daughters to read had I known about it during their girlhood.

I have A White Bird Flying in paperback.

Have you read either story?

I finished knitting the cotton cardigan I began in July (Christmas in July, one gift completed.) The yarn was a gift to me last Christmas.

Until next time,
Karen Andreola
P.S. Years back, I voted for Ronald Reagan. (That's how old I am.)
Today (as always) I am voting policy. I am voting pro-life, for the man who has the best chance at winning the election at zero hour, who is surrounding himself with good men like Mike Pence. Potential nominees are lined up for the Supreme Court. I agree with Christian historian David Barton that voting is a duty and that these judges of the land are paramount.