Monday, August 08, 2005

faith story part V--V is for Vocation

When I was in fourth grade I read a book that would change my life.

It was called "Koster" and it was written by Northwestern anthropology professor Stuart Struever. It described the work and interpretation of a major archaeological excavation at the Koster farm in southwestern Illinois, near the town of Kampsville on the Illinois River.

First, I think this book helped cement my love affair with the landscape of my home state. Second, I wanted someday to ride the Kampsville Ferry over the Illinois River, as described in the book. Third, I decided I wanted to be an archaeologist.(Later appearances by Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones had nothing to do with this decision).

This lasted, on and off, until I had a couple of summers actually doing archaeology.

I loved the academic parts of it but I just wasn't cut out for field work. My family wasn't exactly a DIY kind of family, so I had no skills with tools. None.

(There were many adventures, however, on those summers, most of which I will have to write about at a later time under an assumed name.)

Finally I became convinced that what I was called to do (and I felt this was a genuine calling, as genuine as ordination) was to become a museum educator. Then I could take all the things I had learned about other cultures, communicate them, and help break down stereotypes and misconceptions.

So post-graduation destination: the University of Arizona, with a renowned anthropology department and museum studies program. I was also looking forward to a renewed commitment to church; I had dropped in and out as an undergraduate. It had been a rough transition to a new church home. Some things came easily--any opposition I had to women clergy dissipated when it seemed the most natural thing in the world. But it had taken me a long time to feel at home, and still, I wanted more. I wanted to be involed in liturgy and leadership. And as always, I wanted to feel my faith. It seemed somedays like it was all in my head.


At 11:18 PM, Blogger Charlotte said...

I wanted to say that I am really appreciating this series and plan to pick up the ball on my blog when I have some cycles to spare. The fact that you are telling it episodically in small chunks warms the cockles of my energy-deprived heart ;).

I'm also impressed that you have had to do it again and again "officially" and are telling things that aren't in "the file".

At 11:46 PM, Blogger Garrett O'Hara said...

Good luck at the UA!

At 8:10 AM, Blogger bls said...

I agree: this is great.

What's so interesting is seeing the whole of a person's life; you often forget that all people have a path, a journey, to become the people they are today. And most of that path is hidden from view to others, because we rarely talk about what happened 20 or 30 years ago.

I had no idea, for instance, that you had done archeology! Really interesting.

It's really interesting to see what makes up a person in her entirety. Great idea, and FYI I'm working on mine right now, too!

At 12:21 PM, Blogger Emily said...

I'm looking forward to reading anyone else's story when they have time to share it.


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