“Do you always trust your first initial feeling?
Special knowledge holds truth, bears believing
I turned around
And the water was closing all around
Like a glove
Like the love that had finally, finally found me
And I knew
In the crystalline knowledge of you”
—Stevie Nicks, Crystal
I first heard Crystal by Stevie Nicks the summer before I started seminary.
It was part of the soundtrack for Practical Magic, a 1998 film that’s about sisterhood, female friendship, and a call to being in relationship through adversity and difference. For that reason, Practical Magic quickly became one of my favorite movies. Unlike many others in my own age group, whose love for the quirky and autumnal 90s classic has its roots in childhood nostalgia, I fell in love with this film as an adult for how it imagines and dives into call—a call to friendship, to showing up for one another even when it’s hard to understand the world from the other’s point of view, and to facing fears, grief, and the unspeakable together. For the main characters, sisters Gillian and Sally, their bond is the special knowledge that holds the truth, the love that grounds their lives in their call to be together, struggle together, and share life’s challenges.
Trusting the call: Do you always trust your first initial feeling?
Trusting a call, may it be to a vocation, to relationships, or to a way of being in the world, is not easy, though. That magic of the first initial feeling fades. As our lives change and we face adversity, it can become challenging to hold onto that kind of crystalline knowledge of what feels true. Even when love finally, finally finds us, the journey beyond that original recognition of a call becomes much more complicated.
We are asked to learn from the constant interplay and dance between certainty and uncertainty.
We are invited to face fears.
And then there are the times that the feeling appears to be lost and we question how we know what we know, how we understand ourselves in relation to what we feel called to do and be.
I believe Nicks’ words found their way into my life and into my heart at just the right time. Perhaps it was chance, but more likely my ear caught the lyrics because my body knew I needed to hear them, hold them close, and feel the weight and meaning of each word.
I knew I had been called to ministry since I was sixteen, but making the decision to attend seminary carried a finality that brought me right before my fears, my doubts about how exactly I could be sure about anything at all, and whether I would, of course, be enough. But I was sure of that special knowledge, deep down in my soul, and Nicks’ words reminded me that part of trusting the call is trusting the wrestling, too.
When we heed a call to a way of being in the world, we also honor all the wilderness it brings us through, the perpetual dance we do with doubt, and the un-abating cycle of beginnings and endings through which we move.
To what, or where, or whom do you feel called?
How do you experience the wrestling?
And how do you keep fresh in your heart that clearness of what feels true?
Trust where your heart wants to be and go—that call to the wild, beautiful, messy life. Hold close that crystalline knowledge, that feeling of resolve, but hold the wrestling it brings close, too.
They are both blessings.
May it be so.
Em Kianka is called to team ministry and large-church ministry. She is also deeply committed to exploring Unitarian Universalist identity and theology in order to identify how we can theologically respond to racism, xenophobia, and other forms of oppression in ways that center the embodied spirit of life and the connection we collectively hold with the sacred. She brings this calling with her to All Souls as our intern minister.
Read more about Em and her story on our blog, beyondbelief.online.
Join us at All Souls on every Sunday in September to explore the theme of Vocation and Calling.
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