Life is not a game of musical chairs where there is always one less chair than there are people walking around them. Everyone has a place.
Nobody, I imagine, would be very surprised to learn that one of my favorite things to read when I was a kid was Bartlett's Book of Quotations. Whenever our classes went to the school library, I spent my time pouring over -- and usually memorizing -- words of wisdom that notable people had written or said. One of my favorite quotes was attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt: "No one can put you in your place if you're already there."
No doubt those words were meant to empower anyone who had borne the brunt of a defensive put down, or been actively discouraged from expressing his dignity or reaching her potential. But I like to consider the even simpler principle that's at the base of it. Life is not a game of musical chairs where there is always one less chair than there are people walking around them. Everyone has a place.
Recently, I've been thinking about what it means to find your place in the world. In the past couple of weeks, I've been hearing about what our two working-new-jobs-in-New-York-City daughters have been up to. One is a lawyer, the other a hospitality manager. Interestingly, both have been busy preparing for the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly. For one, that means picking up credentials, contacting delegates, and wearing a simul-translation earpiece. For the other, it means taking security needs into account, and making sure that accommodations are exactly what and where they should be.
The tasks each one of them is doing are so different from the other's that it's hard to wrap my head around the fact that their work is connected to the same event. And yet that is precisely what is so intriguing. Both are contributing what they are meant to by being true to who they are and doing what they love. Each one of them belongs right where she is; each one of them is in the right place.
Being where you're meant to be is a wonderful thing. But every one of us has a place to find and take not only in where we work or live, but in God's plan for the world he created. How amazing it is to realize that your place is as unique as you are. Your place is yours and yours alone; no one can take it from you. You don't have to do anything to achieve it, go anywhere to find it, or solve a mystery to discover it. Your place is right where you are.
At this time of year, the Gospel readings are filled with stories of how God calls people to discipleship. I think the most wonderful thing about that call is that it is made to each one of us right where God finds us. Like those who were among the first to follow Jesus, we may be asked to leave whatever we are busy with--our boats and our nets--behind. And yet, that invitation will be made by a God who first goes out fishing with us, a savior who comes where we are so that we might travel where only he can lead us.
The right place is almost always right here and right now. Our hearts and minds may wander back to the past or reach into the future, but God has come to meet every one of us in the place he has prepared for each one of us. Though we may feel as if we are miles away, in truth, we are already there.
Jaymie Stuart Wolfe is a wife and mother of eight children, and a disciple of the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales. She is an inspirational author, speaker, musician and serves as an Associate Children's Editor at Pauline Books and Media.
Jaymie Stuart Wolfe is a Catholic convert, wife, and mother of eight. Inspired by the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales, she is an author, speaker, and musician, and serves as a senior editor at Ave Maria Press. Find Jaymie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @YouFeedThem.