I first felt nudged toward pursuing a career as a mortician about three years ago. I quickly dismissed the idea and went on with my life. Every so often I would feel this thought fluttering on the fringe of my mind, as I thought about what I would do next (when my children started school full time and I planned to go back to work).
The little nudges began to occur with more and more frequency, even as I tried to ignore them. I began to think about death, about what comes after, about how our society views and handles death. I watched beautiful foreign films about other cultures and the meaningful and familiar rituals that surround the funeral process. I heard interviews with young morticians who brought light and life to their work. I was given a book about someone who made this career choice early on in her life. A friend jokingly called me to tell me that sheʼd just read the best job for Scorpios was mortician. All these things happened without me telling anyone what was on my mind and without me consciously pursuing them. The nudges turned into pushes.
I finally addressed God. Why me? This is too weird. This is creepy. What will people think? Why, why, why am I always the different one?! Why are you pushing me toward something that will make me even more different from everyone else? Why canʼt I have a normal job?! I am scared.
I dug my heels in and more forcefully pushed back. Each week I looked up jobs on craigslist. I researched nursing school, trying to convince myself that this would actually be the best route for me to take. Every time, in my mind, I clearly heard the same words: “Why are you looking at this? You know what you need to do.”
After a year of this, I finally decided to share my thoughts with a few people. I told my spouse, my parents, my siblings, swearing them to secrecy, thinking someone will finally concur with me; this was a crazy idea and I should let it go. No one did. Everyone, while initially surprised, thought that this was the right path, that I would actually be right for this kind of work. I told a few close friends; all were immediately supportive.
This past spring, I finally accepted that this is indeed my path; I will apply to mortuary school this fall. West Hills Friends has become such a crucial part of my spiritual journey, so I began sharing this decision with Friends, one at a time. All have been willing to walk alongside me. Every time I include someone else I feel a sense of relief and I feel a little braver.
This is my wilderness, my uncharted territory. I am nervous, but more than that, I am excited. I am entering the unknown but I am no longer navigating it alone.