Finding Your Calling

Annie Wauneka was a Native American and member of the Cliff Dwelling People of the Navajo Tribe.  It was 1918, and our nation was hit with a devastating flu pandemic.  Annie was at a boarding school at the time.  While she was infected with the flu, her case was mild.  Rather than return home, she stayed at the school to help care for her classmates.  She found her purpose in life as she mourned the loss of so many of her classmates.

Annie devoted the rest of her life to educating her people on maintaining their health.  She was an advocate for better living conditions.  She studied public health and used her knowledge to educate others.  She even wrote a dictionary to translate English health terms into the Navajo language.

Annie earned a degree in public health and was later awarded an Honorary Doctor’s Degree by the University of New Mexico.  In 1963, Annie became the first Native American to win the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  She is also in the National Women’s Hall of Fame.  But perhaps the greatest recognition she received was from the Navajo Council, when they gave her the designation of “The Legendary Mother of the Navajo Nation.”

For many of us, we can point to a moment in time when we found our calling.  It could come from a tragic moment like when Annie experienced the deaths of her classmates.  It could come from a moment of utter joy that you never expected.  It might be the result of advice of a valued person in your life.

For some, our calling may occur at a young age.  For others, it might occur throughout our lives.  Our calling may be career related, but it can also be something that adds meaning to our life outside of our career.

How do we find our calling?  It’s not something you can plan, but we do know a few things about finding our calling.

  • It will involve an incident that was unexpected
  • The memory of the incident will not leave our minds
  • As we reflect on the incident, we realize that we have never experienced such satisfaction before

Will everyone find a life’s calling?  Probably not, and that is not a bad thing.  Having a life’s calling can also add burdens that many may not wish to take on.  Annie must have experienced moments when she was devastated by the human tragedies she experienced.  These moments surely led to sleepless nights and frustrations at the slowness to change.  But all of the burdens are minor when you can look back on a life well lived.

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“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born, and the day you find out why.” – Mark Twain

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