As I mentioned on Friday, Parker J. Palmer's book, Let Your Life Speak: Listening to the Voice of Vocation, is one of my favorite books. Palmer's path to finding his true vocation hasn't been an easy one. He has suffered through a few debilitating depressions, and yet he is one of my favorite role models.
The reason is because it would have been easy for Dr. Palmer to have settled for careers that were prestigious but not satisfying. Instead, he kept on pushing himself to find his true purpose when others undoubtedly would have settled for less. The following quote is a continuation of the passage I quoted earlier.
"But before we come to that center, full of light, we must travel in the dark. Darkness is not the whole of the story--every pilgrimage has passages of loveliness and joy--but it is the part of the story most often left untold. When we finally accept the darkness and stumble into the light, it is tempting to tell others that our hope never flagged, to deny those long hours spent cowering in fear.
"The experience of darkness has been essential to my coming into selfhood, and telling the truth about that fact helps me stay in the light. But I want to tell that truth for another reason as well: many young people today journey into the dark, as the young always have, and we elders do them a disservice when we withhold the shadowy parts of our lives.
"When I was young, there were very few elders willing to talk about the darkness; most of them pretended that success was all they had ever known. As the darkness began to descend on me in my early twenties, I felt I had developed a unique and terminal case of failure. I did not realize that I had merely embarked upon a journey toward joining the human race."