- Doug Tjapkes
There are times when you gotta listen!
I dislike talking about myself. Even worse than that is the experience of visiting with someone who cannot stop talking about himself. BUT, if a personal experience can help someone else in important decision-making, perhaps it’s time to share. My first career was that of a radio broadcaster. I had my first radio program at age 12, and it was love at first sight. The word "radio" is still magical to me. After 29 years, I left the radio business in 1983 and stepped right into a position selling church organs. As an active church musician, it was a natural for me and I loved the work. Nevertheless, there remained that nagging desire to get back to my first love: radio. In the year 2000 I made serious work of it, and found a radio station that I could purchase. All of the details were coming together. I would finally be right back where I belonged! Wrong. Several years earlier I had met a Michigan prisoner named Maurice Carter, serving time for a crime he did not commit. A strong friendship developed. During our side-by-side battles for justice, he began pressuring me to start an organization to help other prisoners in similar circumstances---prisoners with little or no dollars, prisoners with little or no support from family and friends. I kept brushing aside these ideas, as I headed back into the broadcasting industry. Then, abruptly, every door toward radio slammed shut! And just as abruptly, as I grudgingly explored starting some kind of prisoner assistance, every door swung open. 20 years later, it is apparent to me that this is where I belong, right in the midst of all these prisoners. It’s where I was meant to be. My previous careers in broadcasting and music were merely preparation for this one! My favorite theologian, Frederick Buechner, says: ....a person's vocation is a person's calling. It is the work that they are called to in this world, the thing that they are summoned to spend their life doing. We can speak of a person choosing their vocation, but perhaps it is at least as accurate to speak of a vocation's choosing the person, of a call's being given and a person hearing it, or not hearing it. It took a while, but I heard it. My advice to you: Listen!