Student Essay

1873 words - 8 pages

Running head: Vocation Reaction Paper

Vocation Reaction Paper
Lisa Orr
Ms. Capella – N501
October 10, 2012

Summary
In the book, “Let Your Life Speak,” Parker J. Palmer offers insight into the meaning of vocation, and through his personal stories and life experiences, offers lessons in listening to and following our inner voice. Palmer uses poetry to draw the reader into finding deeper understanding. The first four chapters of Palmer’s book, calls us deeper into a world of discovering the gift that we were given at birth. Palmer challenges us to listen to life, explore how to find our true self, examine the principle of opportunity: when a door closes behind us a window opens in ...view middle of the document...

He asserts that we are born with the gift of self, and there are clues from childhood that might lead us to our true calling. Palmer (2000) shares a Hasidic tale which exposes an individual’s drive to emulate a hero instead of being themself: Rabbi Zusya, as an old man said, “in the coming world, they will not ask me: ‘Why were you not Moses?’ They will ask me: ‘Why were you not Zusya’” (p.11)? Palmer mentions feeling “burned out” and goes to Pendle Hill, a Quaker community/retreat where he struggles with his ego. He ends up choosing to stay in the Quaker community and lives there for over ten years while discovering his calling in education.
Palmer examines one of the problems about vocation when a door closes, as in his job loss, and a window doesn’t open. He claims upon reflection that he was fired from his job, not because he performed badly, but because it was not his true calling. Palmer perceives when we stop dwelling on the past and learn to understand out boundaries then we are free to move forward. Palmer talks about depression which he states he experienced at least twice, and tells the reader that his experience is not a universal treatment plan. Palmer shares that depression is a personal and mysterious experience, and it is okay to not understand why some people recover and others do not. He shared the needed to reach the bottom which he equated with ground zero, a place of humility and meeting God, before rising and continuing on the spiritual journey. Palmer claims that he was able to affirm life and stay on the path of his vocation.

Evalution
In the book, “Let Your Life Speak,” Parker J. Palmer shares his personal journey of self-discovery, through the challenges faced in relationship to finding his inner self and vocation. He discusses his failures and successes, and the depth and time required to discover true self and calling. The concepts and methods that Palmer discusses are not new, as they are all found in one form or another in self-help type literature, including religious and spiritual messages, and wisdom passed on through the ages. Palmer reinterprets words and draws upon aged wisdom while he searches for selfhood that her believes necessary to understand vocation. Whether one believes in God, any other deity of religious or spiritual significance, or none, there are valid messages from Palmers stories, yet it is his life, his beliefs and his interpretation of his own experiences, that he writes about. The messages in Palmers words can be taken in many different ways as the stories are really an autobiographical testimonial.
Palmer shares his belief that God has given everyone a gift at birth: true self. Whether one believes in God or not, all are born with this gift which Palmer refers to as birthright gifts. His assertion is that a very young child knows their inner self, yet as the child grows up, society tells the child what to believe: parents may expect their child to go into the...

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