A Collective Vocational Space

“What is it that keeps you awake at night? What is it that gets you up in the morning?”

The weekend began with these two deceptively simple questions, and the answers were anything but simple. Thinking through the things that consume our minds to the point where we want to stay awake or get out of bed is an easier way to begin formulating an understanding of our deep desires and passions. It is a way to ultimately begin understanding our vocation–the space where who God is, who we are when encompassing our unique passions, desires and gifts, and the needs of God’s people meet.

And, really, this space of vocation is how my journey both at Blood:Water and separately from it begins, moves and ends, and where, I would argue, all of our journeys occur. However, traveling to Portland for the Vision & Call Intern Retreat added another component to my understanding of vocational space. Our vocations, though unique to each individual, are intricately connected to the vocations of those before us, with us, and after us. I believe life is a great interweaving of vocations: together working to understand fully who God is, recognizing our individual identities and our identities in relationship with each other, and meeting the needs of one another through meeting the needs of God’s people–a collective vocational space.

My realization of this began with understanding that my presence at Blood:Water is filled with the vocations of so many people before me. To quickly map it out:

  • Over four decades ago M.J. Murdock, founder of Tektronix Inc., met an untimely death leaving the legacy that his wealth would be used to establish a trust committed “to nurture and enrich the educational, cultural, social and spiritual lives of individuals, families, and community.” This has manifested into the Vision & Call internship, whereby the trust provides grants for paid internships to faith-based organizations.
  • Over 10 years ago, Blood:Water was founded by individuals who understood a call to address the HIV/AIDS and water crises in Africa in a way that was committed to recognizing that the true change agents are Africa’s hidden heroes. This year, Blood:Water received a Vision & Call grant from the Murdock Trust.
  • Throughout my 24 years of life, the vocations of others–parents, teachers, professors, etc.–have shaped my own deep commitment and passions toward a holistic development that values the assets and beauty of Africans in a sustainable way. This year, I was given the opportunity to intern at Blood:Water through the grant provided by the trust.

It would be easy to simplify my story. I currently am interning at Blood:Water based on my interest in African development, but this is a deception. My story is so much more than that, it is the collective story of individuals: it is the story of M.J. Murdock, the Blood:Water founders, staff, and partners, and countless professors and individuals. My story is built upon and within a collective vocational space.