“There has got to be something more than this.”
I cannot count how many times I have said this to myself, over and over it seems. Have you ever found this phrase on repeat in your mind too?
I have been in several office jobs for years, and have honestly rarely been deeply satisfied. I have been great at my work, and have always received excellent performance reviews, feedback, rewards, etc, as any diligent worker should, but not once can I truly say that I have felt completely fulfilled or at peace in my soul. Work – no matter what it is, needs to give us a sense of dignity, opportunities to glorify God through our skills by helping others, growth, and a means of fulfilment – but too many of us are not at peace with what we do for a living because we are not using our true gifts. Many people may feel stuck in their work because of the need for survival, or because of the money, or status.
Perhaps some of us may have felt that something is missing in our jobs. I wonder if people have been closing their ears and eyes to another way, if we realise that God may be calling us to something else?
The eternal things – the things which are seemingly out of our reach – have been what I long for the most. When catching glimpses of them in various ways, for example, in the music that I and others sing, or in music that I hear, then my soul soars. But it all seems so fleeting. How does one capture what seems to only be found in Heaven?
I love music because it takes me to a different place. When executed with true intention, feeling, and meaning, it can also help touch others and transport them to God, even if for a moment – I have seen it and felt it. But for me, it is not enough to have this only on weekends at Mass, and then go about life as if God is some distant being who emerges on Sundays. One must live a life, plugged into God as it were, at all times – 24/7. One must be passionate to the point of capturing others, just like Jesus said: “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” (Luke 5:10)
So how can we “catch people” and bring them to God? While we may not be able to immediately abandon our skills and talents in the secular world – as lay people, we must earn our living to support ourselves – we must try to find a channel to bring God to others through those gifts that we have been given. It is hard! I often wish that there was a careers discernment process or service for Catholics at all stages of life, to help them do this. Sort of like a tune-up for cars – a pit-stop, or place, or sabbatical we can go on to recalibrate our souls to God. We really only receive careers guidance as young people, but we also need this as we grow older and move through the various ages of our lives.
It seems, at least in the West, that many people have lost their way and have disconnected from God completely. I love that the so-called “third-world” or seemingly “poorer” countries are leading the way with stronger faith communities there. Even though the work may be menial for some, according to Western standards, they have a rich faith life. We can learn so much from other countries, cultures, and peoples.
As a person living in a wealthy Western country, this also ignites in me (and hopefully other Catholics), the desire to be the difference through our actions. It can be exciting, and daunting, but we can be the trailblazers. It is the sacrifice and the thrill of always running the race for God, when almost everyone seems to be running in the opposite direction.
Here we can also take as our example the life of one of my favourite saints, Saint Therese of Lisieux, in that we can “do little things with great love”. Even the smallest things, like welcoming someone to our parish, thanking them for coming to Mass, encouraging them when they are trying to reach out and do good things, supporting one another, and so on. Perhaps we can volunteer for various church activities, share our faith through our skills, show our kindness by looking out for others in our pews, or speaking to the lonely ones.
Many of us are wrestling with God’s will and the process of discernment, which is not only for those contemplating the religious life. We all have the obligation to find out what God wants us to do for Him on earth. I have found (and am still realizing) that it is a feeling of being torn in several directions. We may ask ourselves several questions: Do I do this or that? Do I go for that job with more pay, even though I know that I feel nothing for it? Do I retrain and take up a new career? How do I know what that is meant to be? What if I make a mistake?
So many of us are seeking and asking.
So many of us are yearning.
Might that be God who is tugging at your heart?
I say ‘Yes’ it is. I am still trying to find out what to do next, and how to respond. It is not easy, but I hope that perhaps, if you are like me, we can pray to God for each other this week, wherever we are in the world:
You are the One who calls us.
Who put the desire for something more in our lives.
We go through each day wondering: “What is it?”
The answer escapes us.
Where can we find it?
Where can we find You?
When we hear silence, Lord, and feel that you are absent.
Give us the strength to hold on.
And not give up.
When no one else seems to care about us,
Or they do not hear our silent cries for help.
Help us to remember that miracles are forming in the deep.
That we are encased in your loving embrace.
Loved beyond all understanding.
Please answer us Lord.
“There has got to be something more than this.”