I’d come to this gala year after year: the annual awards dinner for local professional marketers like me. Same good friends and colleagues. Same banquet hall. Same stale jokes and cheese cubes and speeches and choice of prime rib or chicken.
This time, I had no idea why I was there.
I’d just returned from three days at a local monastery, and the visit had given my whole normal life a giant shove. It left me sitting in that banquet hall and thinking: Why do we do this, any of it—the schmoozing and “networking” and grasping for more business? How have I ever justified selling things to people? Why do we give out awards, anyway? Who ever thought this was important?
In the 10+ years since, the shove toward a different life has changed me. My thriving full-time business is no longer thriving or full-time. Instead I work part-time to pay the bills and spend half of each day writing articles like this. I’ve felt drawn into much more solitude, as much as a married person can have. I’ve written a book and become a spiritual director. None of this has generated commercial success.
At the same time, my …