We’ve all heard it said that you have to do whatever it takes to follow your calling, make sacrifices. I once read somewhere that if you have to have a car with different colored doors, you do. You just do what it takes. I read that quip many years ago, but it has stuck with me. In college, I wanted to write so desperately that I tried to figure out how this translated for me. The only thing I could come up with was that I could sell my car. Then I wouldn’t need a job to pay for it and the insurance it required. I could spend my time writing that I would have spent at my job. All four of ITS doors matched, so I could probably get a good deal. Twenty seconds into this thought and I realized the impracticality of the no-car notion. I did not live on campus. I, in fact, lived a good hour’s drive away.
I have been looking for ways to sacrifice ever since. College was actually quite some time ago. Long, long ago. Eons. As a family we have sacrificed for my husband Sean’s calling, first in the military, and now in ministry. I support him, I am proud of him, and I guess I have made sacrifices for his calling, but what do I sacrifice for mine? I find it easy to sacrifice for the sake of someone else. But what sacrifices do I make for my calling? What are my mismatched doors?
Recently, I made an apple pie, crust from scratch and everything. I have this super awesome tool that peels, cores, and slices the apples with a crank. It is so much fun to use that when I use it I get all kinds of cranking notions in my head. This is so easy! And fun! I should make everything from scratch, always! (Often, when I am trying to sell myself on an idea, my inner voice sounds like an advertisement.)
My family eats a lot of applesauce. Applesauce in its most basic form is apples, peeled, cored, and boiled. I have the tools necessary to do this. It is easy, it would be good, I could add spice if I want to. I would know the origins of the food I feed my family. (Living in Vermont, we picked our own apples this year. I’m talkin’ farm to table, people.)
Then I remember how long baking that pie had been on my nefarious to-do list. I think of the guilt I felt each day as I looked at those apples in their bowl, worrying that it would be too late and they would go to waste. I think of how I have been spending my time.
I’ve been disciplined in my writing these past few weeks. Extra time is spent hunched over words that sometimes come easily, sometimes not, but I am committed, my butt is in its chair. Once I put my pie in the oven that day, I made myself some soup and sat down to write. Later I would go to the grocery store and choose to buy apples to sauce, or applesauce. I wouldn’t feel like a failure if I bought a jar of applesauce, but inside me somewhere there would be a voice saying, “Really, Al, all you have to do is boil these here apples.”
Maybe my sacrifices aren’t going to be huge, but I will have to face them each day. And I will have to let forgiveness cover the areas I simply can’t.
When was the last time you sacrificed for someone else, or someone sacrificed for you?
When was the last time you sacrificed something for yourself, set aside the good, for the better?