The Catholic Art of Getting a Life

New Book on a Spiritual Approach to Finding Your Direction

Getting a Life: How to Find Your True Vocation by Renée LaReau, Orbis (2003), 158 pages.

It seems to me life improves drastically after you hit 30.
<BR>For many of us the twenties are a time of change, disillusionment, learning to make meals from a refrigerator containing naught but condiments.

And wondering what you’re supposed to do with your life. Not to mention trying to figure out how all this fits in with this thing we call God.

The search for what’s there
Sound familiar? If so, then Getting a Life: How to Find Your True Vocation written by BustedHalo’s own Renee LaReau has some tips and hints for you on your journey.

Getting a Life
is grounded in Catholic tradition and is broken down into six distinct considerations 20-something Catholic Christians should keep in mind when hunting down their vocation:

  • discernment and prayer,
  • noticing the signs that you’re headed in the wrong direction,

  • keeping your faith in the midst of adversity,

  • the morality of your work,

  • the importance of being involved in a like-minded faith community,

  • and the usefulness of mentors.

To illustrate these considerations LaReau uses experiences from her own life to show that she’s been there.

One point regarding vocation

that the author describes well and comes back to throughout the book is how “we don’t have to create a vocation for ourselves—it is already there.”

It is in stopping and listening that we figure out our place, both in our own lives and in the lives of those around us. Taking the time to determine where we fit in smoothly in the grand scheme of things leads us to greater peace and fulfillment. Living one’s vocation is also great witness to one’s faith.

Time out with the poor
Getting a Life
is aimed at an audience groomed for professional careers, and one theme LaReau returns to is the value of spending time with the poor. She uses recollections of her own stint volunteering at a shelter for the homeless, as well as experiences of friends and others, to illustrate the value of spending time and developing relationships with those who are poor. She believes in the impact that has in terms of vocation.

Missing links
There are two areas in which Getting a Life falters. One is that in making her point, LaReau quotes from a variety of Catholic theologians from Thomas Merton to Sr. Joan Chittester, but neglects to include a bibliography of these references.

The other is that after a great start the book seems to become more focused on anecdotal stories from the author’s life and on social teaching and less focused on practical suggestions to assist the reader in finding their vocation.

When getting a life, don’t forget…
Getting a Life
is a wonderful resource for people in their twenties and experiencing the confusion about job and life that often goes with it, especially those wanting to put that into some kind of religious context. It provides a nice introduction to the spiritual resources and teachers available within the Catholic tradition.

And remember, sometimes the thing you are resisting the most is the thing that is most important to explore.