When I was little I never really thought about vocation. People asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up and my answers fell into two categories.
1. Things I though would be really fun and adventurous.
2. Things I thought I would like based on the subjects I was good at school.
-lawyer (I like reading)
-doctor (I love science)
-teacher (I was good at school)
-historian? (I loved reading and was good at history)
But I never thought about vocation. When people (mostly my dad) would ask me what I wanted my life to look like when I was 30, I lied. I said I wanted to be a doctor/scientist/teacher/cowboy. But really all I wanted was a wonderful home life, a sweet husband and children, lots of fun children running around and pulling on my leg. The job I wanted allowed that to happen.
In fact, I've pretty much always had a job out of necessity. I know you're thinking, haven't we all. What I mean is, I initially worked to earn money to pay for my car insurance and gas. All other money went into adventure: road trips, causeway tolls, costumes, and cover charges. It was a fun life, its the life I still want. I love hiking and traveling to amazing places. But that's not my life.
I have never felt exhilarated by anything other than: my family, adventure, and science. Some scientists find themselves at 50, divorced, childless or in unhappy marriages. Tom and I saw that future and decided that wasn't what we wanted. We made a conscious decision to put our home life first and make decisions that fell in line with the family life we wanted. I also guess, in terms of adventure, I look to the dream I had a few weeks ago. In it, I followed my dreams to seek adventure and save the world, but I didn't get Tom in the end.
While we still hike pretty frequently, desire fabulous tropical vacations, and do plenty of science (even if, for me, its just emails to friends and family about some health topic - H1N1, vaccination, midwifery), the best moments of our lives are when we are laying in the bed. The early morning sunlight streams in the window, Tom is making the baby laugh, we talk about our day, what we will do later, what we will eat for dinner. It's not much, but it's so happy, so perfect. I know that this is my vocation. Everything else is a role that I play to obtain some end, but it's not my life's work.
I guess that's what it means again to think about vocation. In terms a 3 year old would understand, a vocation is what God wants you to do when you grow-up. I am supposed to love others as God has loved me. My grown-up job is to care for and love my child and my husband. Help bring them to heaven. Get myself there too.