By Dr. Tim Fargo
As a chiropractor, I spend my days not only treating people, but also talking to them and finding out about what creates the greatest stress in their lives. All too often, when I ask them about their work, they tell me variations of “It’s just a job”, or “I’m just doing it to make money”, or “it really doesn’t excite me”. I am always saddened to hear such commentary because it stands in stark contrast to my own reality about my job. I feel very blessed to have found a calling, something that excites and allows me to express my passion for helping people. Henry David Thoreau said, “The mass of men live lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them”. As I read that quote this morning, I was reminded to be grateful for the fact that I get to “sing my song” every day.
A “calling” is an occupation to which a person is especially drawn, or for which they are uniquely suited, trained, or qualified. Some people are fortunate enough to be naturally drawn to an occupation or vocation. For others, self-examination, and a conscious process are required to find a calling. If you, in reading this, realize that your life is being absorbed by work that does not even remotely excite you, then some thoughts about how to find a calling might be appropriate.
A calling, or vocation, will appear at the intersection of the things about which you are most passionate, your gifts and talents, and the world’s deepest needs. This latter, the world’s deepest needs, is not necessarily essential to a calling, but it does deepen the sense of mission about what you spend your time doing. Sit down in a quiet place, take some deep breaths, and look at the things about which you are most passionate. Maybe you are most passionate about golf, or helping people, or food, or painting, or interior design. If there is a particular thing about which you have great passion, then examine your special skills or talents in that area. Finally, ask yourself how it is that your passion, your skills, and the needs of the world intersect. You will find, then, at the kernel of that intersection, your vocation. Yes, I know that his might seem like an oversimplification, but you have to start somewhere.
This thought about a calling was prompted recently by some things that Nancy found when she was going through old pictures. First, there was this fabulous picture of Dr. Kailey as a little girl of about three or four “adjusting” Barney the Dinosaur. Then, there was a paper that Kailey wrote as a high school kid entitled “Call of the Wild”. In her paper she talked about how she felt called to be a chiropractor. Here it is in her own words. “Chiropractic has been a calling for me because it is something that has captured my interest and attention. I feel that it has almost been a sort of summons for me for as long as I can remember, and it will continue to be for the rest of my life”. She then went on to describe her view of the role that chiropractic plays in helping people get healthy. She said that “… a person does not need to have an injury or pain in order to be treated. Besides the pain relief aspect, chiropractic aims at maintaining the health and stability of the muscular, skeletal, and nervous systems. By adjusting the joints, the bones and muscles shift into proper alignment and allow the nerve channels to open and have free-flowing communication all through the nervous system. This positive flow of energy allows a person to live a healthier and happier life in a natural and minimally invasive way. This is why chiropractic has been such a significant calling for me – I would like to be able to help individuals with my bare hands in ways that will help them improve the quality of their lives”. I was filled with pride in reading her clear statement and thought it a very good summary of chiropractic for a high school student.
I feel very fortunate to have played a part in having inspired Kailey to be part of this great profession. The more time that I spend as a chiropractor, the more I realize that my own calling is not merely about caring for patients but is also about teaching and inspiring others to do what I do. I appreciate having been given the opportunity to work with you and to be able to train and mentor so many young people. If you are in the clinic and you see a bunch of young people hanging around, you will know that they are interns and students “shadowing”, and you will also know that I am teaching and doing what I love. Here’s wishing you good fortune in the search for your own calling.