Our deepest calling is to grow into our own
authentic selfhood, whether or not it conforms to some
image of who we ought to be.
As we do so, we will not only
find the joy that every human being seeks-- we will also
find our path of authentic service in the world.
Parker J. Palmer
are lots of people who think they have a pretty good idea
of who and what we ought to be. They know we should
do this, shouldn't do that, should act this way, shouldn't
act that way. The only thing is, they really don't
know who and what we ought to be, for that's something
that even we ourselves don't necessarily ever know.
"Our own authentic selfhood" isn't described
anywhere, isn't written down somewhere, isn't prescribed
by anyone. Our authentic selfhood is something we
become by accepting life as it comes and working hard to
live sincerely by our own conscience and our own sense of
right and wrong.
kids, we're told that we ought to want to grow up to be
something. How many of us wanted to be
firefighters? But once we get that image in our
minds and put all our effort into becoming that, are we
really seeking out our authentic selves, or are we trying
to become the person of whom we have an idealized mental
authenticity will allow me to be who I am in every
situation. Only by allowing myself to become who I'm
truly meant to be will I find the ways to serve others
that will be incredibly fulfilling to me. In that
sense, serving others truly becomes serving myself, for
I'm giving myself deep fulfillment.
I serve others out of a sense of duty or obligation, my
service never will be as sincere or as heartfelt.
When I find my authentic self, though, my service never
again will be a duty--it will be a joy. And it will
be far more valuable to its recipients, too.