Are you born to do something? Are you great at numbers? Can you paint? Do you make the best brownies? In other words, have you found your calling?
For a very long time, I knew my calling was acting. I knew it from a very young age. I have memories (verified by mother) of dressing in my ballet leotard, having my mother tie a red ribbon around me neck (a fascination developed by watching Wild, Wild West on Sunday evenings), and performing in our driveway. I believed that I would be kidnapped/discovered. Maybe not the healthiest desire or practical -- we lived at the end of a horseshoe shaped street in a so suburban-it-was=almost-rural area. Needless to say that I was neither discovered (Boo!) or kidnapped (Yay!).
The point is that I knew what I should and would be doing for all my days. I was confident without wavering of my life's desire.
FLASH FORWARD 25 years, I am living in New York. Pursuing my dream. Loving it! I was never quite a SATC girl (I was married, after all) but I loved living in the city. I loved the trains. I loved living the life of an actress, even a struggling one.
And on one of the most beautiful mornings in September, I was in Manhattan to be a small part in an even smaller film (No. I don't remember the name.) And two planes flew into two buildings. And everything changed. For the country. And for me.
My husband and I were separated that day with little communication. For those of you who do not know, we lost cell phone capability when the towers fell. The trains were shut down. The tunnels and bridges were closed, Quite simply, I could not get home. And he could not come get me. He was enraged at his helplessness and he was forever changed.
Soon thereafter, he started dropping the words National Guard into conversation. We had both been impressed by how the Air National Guard had secured the airports and how the city was protected from the chaos expected by so many. Finally, he told me that he wanted to join.
Join? We were artists. We were the wacky, crazy, liberal gypsies. We were not a military family. Or so I thought.
It seems that this became his calling. And almost nine years later, he is still serving. I am very proud of him. But there was a cost. We walked away from our life in the city. We moved back to Texas and started over.
In September 2001, I was in a show. That was the last time I performed as an actress. I got to Texas and I focused on supporting our new life (Not surprisingly, the military does not pay exceedingly well) and then I focused on our family. I did not focus on acting. I would like to make this part of the story sound like Annette Bening walking away from Catwoman -- but the truth is I walked away from the acting world and it did not notice. At all. Nonetheless, I walked away for some time.
And after the years past, I began to wonder if I was still capable of acting. I feared that I no longer had a calling. I came to believe that in supporting my husband's calling, I had lost mine.
But this past weekend, I was proven wrong. As I mentioned previously, I was able to be a part of a series of staged readings. So wonderful! In several plays by young playwrights. And I discovered that a calling is forever. It may gather dust but it does not leave you.
I still have a calling. I don't quite know how it will next appear in my life but I now have faith that it will arise again. And that I will be ready when it does. It is a calling, after all.
So what's your calling?