"Do now, do now, what you will wish to have done when your moment comes to die." [St. Angela Merici]

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

It’s All About What Makes Your Heart Beat

By Micky Wolf
There was the day, many fortnights passed, when I was sure my calling was to become an EMT (emergency medical technician). My beloved was most supportive as we believed it would be the perfect job for many reasons—part time, flexible hours so I could be with our two young children, plus just enough additional income to help with the expenses of our growing family.

And then it didn’t happen. In fact, all that remain are a few interesting memories and a few tools of the trade, including the stethoscope in the accompanying photo.

First, a couple of important details. I completed the course work and passed the final written exam with flying colors. Easy.

Next step—a class field trip to the large, local, teaching hospital for a walk-through of the organized chaos of the bustling ER, followed by a no-holds-barred briefing on how we would be scheduled for our up-close-and-personal clinical trials. Not so easy.

Our final instruction, pronounced in onerous tones and raw detail by the male head nurse, was delivered with surgical precision as to what we would likely see, hear and experience. By that point, my stomach was roiling. This. Was. Not. What. I. Had. Expected. Then again, what was I thinking—various versions of bodily injury and mayhem minus the blood and broken parts? This was far removed from the afternoon we’d been required to view autopsy slides from a safe, sanitized distance in the classroom.

Wasting not a moment or a tidbit of gory fact, he concluded our session by stating: “You’ll be working alongside interns, residents and staff of every kind and description. Nobody cares who you are, just do your job. By the way, if you have to puke on my floor, get out of the way so nobody slips and falls. But if it helps, everybody does, sooner or later.”

Whoa. That was the extent of my career in emergency medicine.

So then, could it have been I didn’t hear what I thought I did in the quiet of my heart?


You see, what stirred my interest in the first place was honest. True. Authentic. I’ll always be grateful for the time and money spent going through the course. Because if for no other reason, I learned what I’m not called to do. Over time I would discover the Divine would present a different way to serve using the gifts and abilities God has given me.

These days, I spend a fair amount of my time as a certified spiritual director listening to others pour out their joys and hurts, companioning them as together we discern God’s will for their lives. I often marvel at what has unfolded over the years. At the very least, a rich repository of beauty and ashes, blessings and sufferings, that never fail to illustrate the common ground we share as human beings created in the image and likeness of God.

For you or me to insist that our work or life be lived in a certain manner might not be the worst way to go from day-to-day. On the other hand, wouldn’t it seem wiser to take the time to stop and listen to the voice of the One? To sense the gentle beating that stirs in our heart and soul? To recognize the nudge leading us to redirect our efforts and energies?

It’s not about being wrong or blaming ourselves when we go in a direction that turns out to be more of a distraction or a detour.

When it’s all said and done, it’s about being open and receptive. Ever and always sensitive to the invitation and plan God has for us.

It’s about being light on our feet. Listening to the beat. And then moving, as the heart leads.

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