I didn’t post anything last night because I was at a performance. It was called Gloria: A Renaissance Christmas Pageant, and it was in one of the churches near Harvard Square. There’s nothing quite like going out at night, into the cold, then walking into a beautiful space, sitting quietly – then hearing glorious music and singing, and seeing beautiful dance to accompany it.
I found a video of the performance that seems to be from two years ago. But looks just like the performance I watched last night. (Well, thirty seconds of it.)
I went because my ballet teacher told me about it. She’s Helena Froehlich, the director of Creationdance. In the video, she’s the dancer on the left, with red hair. In person, she’s tall and French, and she looks like a dancer, meaning that although she’s my age, if you just saw her walking down a street, you might assume she’s a teenager. That’s how she moves. (That’s how all professional dancers move, no matter their age. I wish I could move like that!)
So imagine the darkness of a church, and Renaissance music played on old instruments, and voices raised in song. And dancing.
I mention all this not only because it was glorious, but also because seeing it made me think about true vocation. It’s obvious when you see someone who has found theirs. They’re joyful – you can see it on their faces. (Look at Helena’s as she dances.)
That joy is the sign – when you see it, when you feel it, that’s when you know. And once you find it, you can’t let go of it. You have to keep doing it, whatever it is – whether it’s dance, or teaching, or medicine. I’ve been fortunate enough to know a number of people who have found their true vocations. They are all successful, but more than that – they are joyful people. They work very hard, harder than other people I know. But they love that work.
I was thinking about all this because that’s what writing is for me. It’s what writing has been since I was very young – even at the most difficult periods of my life, I could write stories, poems. It was always a source of joy. There’s so much advice out there now about writing and publishing: how to boost your word count, how to epublish, why not to . . . That’s why it’s good to remember – at the heart of any true vocation is joy.
Find your true vocation. And then follow it. Everything else is just the details.