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  • I’ve known my friend Sam for about 15 years. When we met, Sam was in his mid fifties and was a newly out of work car salesman. This wasn’t just a job for Sam. He was a “career” salesman. The dictionary defines career as “a profession for which one trains and which is undertaken as a permanent calling.” With all the economic pressures over the last few years, we don’t hear the word career mentioned very often today. Our work life is more likely to be a job defined as “a specific task done as part of the routine of one's occupation; anything a person is expected or obliged to do”, hardly what we aspire to as active participants in our community and family. What attracted me to Sam was his attitude toward work. He considered himself blessed to have spent most of his adult life doing something he felt called to do. For Sam, work was a sacred activity. It wasn’t about what he did, it was why and how he did it.

    Sam didn’t waste time complaining. He began to network, comb the want ads, ask his friends if they knew of any openings. He pursued every lead. Many people Sam’s age were intimidated by having to “pound the pavement” again but not Sam. He looked forward to the challenge, certain he’d find work he liked which he did. He sold computer equipment, managed an office and worked again for a short time as a car salesman in addition to several other diverse vocations. When I asked if he ever felt discouraged, he said, “No. I’m pursuing my dream. I’m just not there yet. I’ve always seen my real calling as a real estate agent so I look at everything I’m doing as preparation for that job.” Now lest you think Sam was just too good to be true and somewhere deep in his heart nurtured dreams of violence and mayhem, I can tell you he complained, had concerns and doubts and he shared them with friends. He had feelings just like the rest of us. Once he felt those feelings though, he let them go and moved on.

    There were times when he was just making it and he and his wife had to sell their house and downsize. It turned out to be for the best as Sam also had to deal with cancer about that time. While he suspended his job hunt, he kept himself busy with volunteer work doing small repair jobs for others and working in shelters and rehabs and mentoring young men. He was certain this too was bringing him closer to that calling although he admitted he had no idea how it would happen. Sam was now over sixty and I wondered how realistic his attitude was. Only intermittently employed over a long time and being a senior citizen seemed more suitable to a retirement attitude.

    After a rocky recovery, Sam was clean of cancer and again was back on the journey to his dream. As you might guess, Sam was a man with many friends who developed quite a reputation as a power of example to those struggling with job losses. His opinions were respected and he loved offering the many resources he had gathered along the way.

    When I moved to Georgia a couple of years ago, Sam was working but nothing in the real estate market had materialized. We lost touch for a short while but a couple of months ago I received the following email:

    “I’m writing with news of great importance to me that I am eager to share with you.  I have embarked on the beginning of a new and exciting career for me. I am now an officially licensed Real Estate Agent in the State of Connecticut. You know this is something I have been working toward and now I am at the point where I can devote all my time and effort to this one goal.”

    At age 66, my dear friend reminded me that you are never too old for a dream to come true. It's a real gift to live long enough to start over knowing now what we didn't know then. One of my favorite quotes is "Our life's purpose is born where our passion and talent meet the world's needs." Sam was uniquely gifted to find just the right sanctuary for people searching for a place to be at home. He honed his considerable people skills and knew from personal experience how precious each moment is. He sees his place as an angel in people's lives. Real estate is simply his "cover" identity!  
    I truly believe that he has been chosen to do a joyously sacred service which is how Sam always saw work.
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