“VOCATUS atque non VOCATUS Deus aderit”
“Bidden or not bidden, God is present.”
Noted psychologist Carl Jung had these words carved over the front door of his house in Zurich. Later they were placed on his tombstone.
This saying is carved into a small board and sits on my desk. Sometimes my desk and my life get cluttered and I cannot easily see the plaque or remember its words for me. Yet, when I do see it, the words bring a soft joy deep inside of me and I continue on my daily path doing what I hope God wants and needs me to do and being who God needs me to be. Those jobs have changed drastically throughout my life and at times I have seriously resisted what seems to be God-directed. However, as I am often too busy to notice subtle messages, God comes to me in bold words and I follow.
You see, my life goal was to be an environmental biologist/chemist and work to clean up and protect the rivers of Virginia. However, at the time, my gender prohibited me from working full time at that job even though I had done this as a summer employee. So, I changed course and began to do substitute teaching. Before long I had a teaching contract and loved teaching chemistry. However, I changed locations several times as the opportunity or guidance came to move. The most drastic change was returning to the city to teach students who needed good teachers and who had been shortchanged for years. How is this move a faith based step? Well, I was quite satisfied with my job in the county at a new school with great labs and smart kids. Yet, when I saw the test scores from the city in the newspaper those numbers seemed to follow me everywhere. That quiet small voice just kept reminding me that I had begun my career in the city and I could go back. Well, like some famous Bible characters, you remember Jonah and others, I tried to ignore the voice. It wasn’t until a year later when I saw the test scores and knew that I needed to make the change. My students in the county would get another good teacher and would be fine, but those kids in the city may not. So, I made the call to apply and my current students and colleagues thought that I had lost my sanity and were worried about my safety. However, when you follow God’s suggestion, I have found, you go in safety and with promise.
Other God-planted ideas have included attending the Presbyterian Pilgrimage and changing churches from the one I grew up in to Ginter Park Presbyterian. Both decisions were difficult and involved stepping out in faith but both have allowed me to grow in my beliefs and be a part of a community of believers that supports, strengthens and challenges me to continue to try new jobs and be a new person. Why else would I take on a Bible Study class when I felt so ill prepared? God sent me great people to help with and participate in our class and those good people of faith continue to make Sunday mornings a blessing to me and to others.
So I will remember “Vocatus atque non Vocatus Deus aderit” as I follow God’s call into tomorrow and beyond.
Mary Frances Hobbs is an elder and an incoming Session member. “I have been a member of GPPC since 1979. Tom and I raised our two sons here and still enjoy being a part of this community. I was a classroom chemistry teacher for many years, then a visiting science teacher in chemistry, environmental science, and nanoscience, and finally a mentor to other science teachers. Four years ago, I began training as a Feldenkrais teacher and practitioner and have now graduated and am enjoying helping people with joint issues, accident recovery, and a desire to move easier. The best part is the Feldenkrais work allows me to be active and spend time with my grandchildren – who range in age from 2 to 20.“