Callings

Designed by Frederick W. Ruckstull, the South Carolina Women of the Confederacy Monument was erected directly behind the State House in 1912.

Designed by Frederick W. Ruckstull, the South Carolina Women of the Confederacy Monument was erected directly behind the State House in 1912. Both of these Gilded Age beauties, so typical of their era, look like blood relatives of the woman on the face of the Morgan silver dollar. The one in front seems so focused. (Click for hi-res version.)

I drove to Columbia on Sunday to meet a high school classmate for dinner. We talked of many things, including the reunion that he plans to attend and that I plan to miss. Torrential rain was flooding Gervais Street as we adjourned.

My classmate believes, and I believe him, that he has found his calling. His true calling. He’s determined to become a physical therapist. No doubt he will.

Even after being dropped from the rigorous training program for low grades on first attempt, even after being diagnosed with non-trivial arthritis that will make the already difficult work even more so, he’s re-enrolled and plans to graduate in 2014.

Because he wants it. Badly. And prospective employers already want him.

Walking into town this morning, I heard on the radio that two colleagues, one in Greenville and one in Columbia, each have been awarded $5,000 SC Arts Commission fellowships. The Greenville colleague is a screenwriter and the Columbia colleague is a playwright. Like my high school classmate, they’re hot on the trail of something and roughly my age.

This coming Sunday, I’ll hold mic for yet another Greenville colleague, younger than me but still in the ballpark, who for the last year has been co-producing a web series in his spare time.

There are plenty of other examples I could offer. People in their 40s, 50s and 60s. Poof! they go. Poof! Poof!

I’m beginning to feel like the agnostic on That Great Getting Up Morning. Folks all around me being snatched up by the angels. Was it something they ate? Something they prayed?

If I do have a calling, it sounds to me much more like a mocking bird than Saint Michael. One tune after another. Turn, turn, turn. I don’t know what I’d do if it ever made up its mind.