I am sure many people who had to answer that in the affirmative must have grappled with it. The writer, M. Scot Peck, understood why. And I am pretty sure that today, just like before, there would be more people who would probably answer the question in the negative.
How do I know this? I asked the same question on Twitter and got more negative than positive responses.
Think of people in history who were called by their God, or their destiny, fate, or other voices. They must have grappled with the question, whether they were hearing a true voice, a real calling or were they just hearing themselves talking?
Gautama Buddha, Saul the tax collector, Moses, Muhammad, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, the thousands of priests and nuns and men and women in the past and the present who were called to a life of service and dedication, must have had their doubts, too, before they said “yes” to the call.
The doubt is real and excruciating to face. One may need to pray over it for a long time, to ask for discernment before committing. And even when one is so close to the point of commitment, he is still not sure. Affirmation only comes once the irrevocable “yes” is given, which means it comes at the point when one can no longer turn his back anymore. It is only then that peace comes to the chosen one, and only for a while.
There must be something unbelievably scary yet beautiful, inspiring and totally life-changing when responding to the call to Be The One. It must feel like being privy to the thoughts of one’s God, since God is talking to you directly, and you are personally called upon to carry out a mission.
When it happened to Moses and Saul, they were completely converted and their lives changed radically. Gautama, upon enlightenment, must have felt like the entire universe and its secrets had opened up to him.
Being The One is probably not easy. And it is understandable that many turn it down when they hear the call because it asks one to leave one’s old life and embrace a new one that is most uncertain. “Many are called but few are chosen,” as Jesus himself said. That was true then as it is now.
And yet, to heed the call is to know that one has been chosen, and is, in a profound way, being asked to respond to a special divine request. That can be flattering. But, for all the VIP treatment (the call, or sometimes even a ‘visitation’), one can be sure he or she will be asked to do something difficult.)
To answer the call is to be asked to shout a message from rooftops, pulpits, gatherings or any venue that is presented. The message is often not an easy sell to the unconverted. You risk ridicule, disdain, contempt and may even be subjected to great physical challenges for espousing the message.
Saints have died for the faith, and in primitive societies, many shamans have lost their sanity. But that is how it is. And no matter how difficult the task can become, the deal between the divine and the mortal is simple, and it is this: You have seen the truth. You have glimpsed heaven. Now you must share it.
I do not think, however, that such a deal is offered exclusively to those who get the call as described above. In a sense, we all get called. To a lesser but equally important degree, anyone who answers or pursues a vocation, or who lives in this world faces important challenges.
Every year, there is a long list of people who take the qualifying exams to become doctors, nurses, CPAs, lawyers, etc., and join the workforce. There are also young men and women who marry and become parents, and the many who end up working for the government. Common to all these vocations are the oaths or promises they swear to do in the practice of their calling.
In fact, whatever it is one eventually does, even outside of those mentioned above, there are surely instances when one is faced with hard choices. And many of these involve issues of honesty and fidelity to what one has sworn to uphold. These are the moments of truth when one has to choose between being true to one’s profession or one’s conscience, or give in to the easier and more convenient path of mediocrity, or worse, dishonesty. In short, these are the moments when one is asked to answer the call to simply do the right thing as best as one can.
Everyone undergoes “the test,” not just once but many times. Everyone is asked to prove who they are or what stuff they are made of. These involve situations where one’s professionalism and abilities, talent, integrity and yes, one’s character is tried.
We have seen many people in public life fail the test, and their stories splashed all over the media. Many of us fail as well in our private lives. It is not just the policeman or public official who gave in to a bribe, or the lawyer who lied, or the spouse who cheated who fail, but also people who simply do not deliver an honest day’s work or live lives lacking in authenticity.
Being The One therefore is not something that happens only to so-called ‘special people’. That call is also heard by regular, ordinary people as they go about living life and minding their own business.
We become The One when we do good, or respond to situations in a way that is congruent and true to our beliefs and conscience. We are The One when we stand up against the world and challenge things that are wrong or oppressive.
Lastly, we are The One when our words and actions raise the possibility of experiencing greater and higher authenticity in our daily lives.
Because we are awake to meaning and purpose, we see higher possibilities, and so we must do the work of being The One by sharing it.
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1) Join me in a Songwriting Workshop on Saturday, October 8. Learn what comprise good songs and songwriting from melodic, structure, lyrics, arrangements, etc. It uses a very hands-on approach. Students will actually write during class. The class is from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 0916-855-4303 or write to email@example.com for questions and reservations. Classes are at P5,000.
2) The Art of the Nude — A photography workshop on Oct. 15 from 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org for questions and reservations. Limited class.
3) Walking Photography Class — Explore a place and learn to capture light, tell a story, frame a photo, and more under different lighting conditions and settings. Class is on Oct. 22. Venue to be announced.