My Grandmother Clare Hornsby passed away recently and I would be remiss if I didn’t share some life lessons I learned from her on the topic of finding and nourishing your vocation. She lived 95 full years of life, not without hardship and trials and tribulations, but also with vigor, faith, and love to be able to face what life threw at her. We lovingly called her “Cla-Clare” which is “Clare” twice because she did not want to be called Grandma or any synonym for grandma! So the rest of the article she will be addressed as “Cla-Clare”.
First a little background is that Cla-Clare served as a lawyer for 70 years in the state of Mississippi. She was married for fifty years before my grandfather Warren past away. She had three children, whom she lovingly called “her Freddy, her Susie, and her Bo”! She had 9 grandchildren who always knew of her love and support, and many nephews and nieces who also knew how much she loved and supported them. She was a vital piece of the community and stayed active doing what she could for the betterment of it.
Cla-Clare loved the law and was able to practice for 70 years because she sustained and nourished this vocation in her life. Most importantly she was able to become a lawyer because her parents never told her she ‘could not’, in fact they told her otherwise. This is the first lesson: how are we supporting and promoting children to reach their full potentials? Are we personally and systemically helping them to develop and become their true selves? Or are we blocking this development in any way?
Cla-Clare had many sayings or little life tips she always shared and one of them was “the Law is a jealous mistress, you woo her well or you lose her.” She was passionate about her job. As we all know the law is ever-evolving and changing and is not stagnant. She kept learning and growing in her knowledge and becoming stronger in practice. Her nickname was “the barracuda” in court because she knew how to get her clients what they needed and would not settle for less. This did not happen overnight. It was an ongoing process. Cla-Clare loved my grandfather Warren very much and they had a loving and supportive relationship. Being a wife and mother was also part of her vocation. She would do those things that kept these relationships with her husband and children going. The second lesson is: nourish your vocation. Do those things which help you to grow and enhance you. Be with people who nourish your vocation. Be mindful enough to know who these people are in your life and what actions you take or choices you make help nourish you.
The third lesson is have a strong faith and spiritual life that sustains you. Cla-Clare had a faith life that sustained her. She had a relationship with God, Jesus and Mary. Her sense of humility and justice flowed from her faith. She trusted God and even when she waivered she knew God never did. This lesson is a personal one in the sense that each person’s relationship to the Divine is unique. Be mindful of your own relationship with divine and know what works for you and how you want to enrich or grow in it. There is no one “cookie-cutter” shape or mold that is the specific way for everyone to have a relationship with God.
Last but not least, Cla-Clare would always ask me “Do you love it?” when speaking of my vocation to Religious life. She would always ask others, “Do you love him/her?” when speaking to them on their marriage. She knew deep down this was the key ingredient, the glue that holds life together. She loved God, her family and friends, and her career. This love was evident in everything she did and it was catching. Where is your love coming from and going? How is love evident in your life? Is it love in the truest form? The answers to these questions are personal but they will help reveal and sustain your vocation.
I’m grateful to have had Cla-Clare in my life! I’m grateful to share a little bit about her with you today! When she was here Cla-Clare always said, “I’m sitting on top of the world, Darling” when anyone asked her how she was doing. Now we’re all saying she really is sitting on top of the World! So I hope to keep growing in all the ways Cla-Clare taught me and she is with me in a different way now. But nevertheless with me.
Blessings on the journey fellow pilgrim! ~Sister Clare