When I was a child, I used to lay awake in my bed and pray that I would not be called to be a nun. Really. Most of my nights were full of this prayer. “Please, please don’t call me” I would beg to God.”. I asked the nuns at school- “How do you know that you are called?”. They answered that there was never a question. It was not something to be ignored. You would just KNOW. Just know. So I lay there. between the ages of 11-16. In bed. In the dark. Please. Please don’t call me. Call someone else. I want children. I want a partner. Please don’t call me into servitude. (I had no idea that parenting was servitude, but that’s another post!)
I was luckily spared from that particular calling. It never came. I was however called to the Peace Corps. Although, I defied that calling.(you can defy them you know..) I remember sitting in the peace corps office and they wanted to know WHY I wanted to join. I was told of cold showers and harsh, dangerous conditions, of isolation. I simply couldn’t not go. Resisting was harder than any of the conditions they described. In the end, I chickened out. I blamed it on the gulf war and I turned my back on that calling.
I didn’t turn my back when I felt a call to move to New Zealand, although it did take me seven years to act on it. The actions were planned and deliberate. I felt so clearly that this is where I am supposed to be.. Why? I don’t know. But trust that it was the right thing for me and my family and will understand why later.
Now I am a self published author. I’ve always liked writing, so this is not a huge surprise. But MATH? Really? Don’t get me wrong, I love Arithmetic Village, I really do. It’s just, well It’s not me. The novel I’ve been writing, ”A Day in a Life”, now that’s me. The book about living with an environmentalist, that’s me too. But math books by the unmathy? Advertising, marketing and finding people to dress up like characters, well, that feels weird. Signing the books, that feels otherworldly.
Arithmetic Village insisted on being written. I thought of little else during that time. Words came to me at night, while driving, while cleaning. It was my never-ending list to do until it was done. I sappily think of it as a gift to future generations as a gentle imaginative, beautiful way to learn math. No one else was answered call, I hunted far and wide, so I did. This is my explanation to my friends and family who do not understand how or why I wrote these books and lesson plans.
I think we all have callings and sometimes they surprise us. I am grateful my calling was Arithmetic Village and not the sisterhood. (No offence Sister Clare) Have you ever had what might be termed as a “calling”? Just wondering if I’m alone…