Is there a dial tone?

So, you say you have a calling...
let's stop there for a minute: what happened to discernment in community? Have people forgotten the extent to which one of the people we Quakers look up to - John Woolman - listened to his community, was persistent in his faith, and let ideas season? Sometimes for years?
Having a calling doesn't mean we let our community know what we're doing as we're heading out the door. For instance: do you know what you're talking about? Can you accept that other people might know what they're talking about - and that they might know more than you? And if you're going off to school - I don't know, maybe a Quaker seminary in Indiana - can you accept that you're there to learn, that it might challenge your ideas and change you in the process? That you're not there simply to gain a credential?

Usually, I'm not the one who knows more, despite my arrogance and broad range of interests. Socrates and Hume are always there with me: the wisdom of knowing the limits of my own knowledge, and the genuine skepticism that comes with that, asking questions, providing tentative conclusions that can be revised as necessary. But if there's a medical question, you're better off asking a doctor or a nurse. If you're concerned about environmental problems - which may or may not have to do with the safety of nuclear power and the relative trade-offs with, say, coal - I know people you can talk to. The same is true if you have a concern about the rights of indigenous people, or race relations in America. (Of course, I do have my areas of expertise.)

None of this is to say that you shouldn't pursue your calling; but you need to be able to listen to other people in the community, to let it season, to gather information. Just as important - and in my experience just as lacking - the people in your community need to be able to be tender with your concerns while being honest. Sometimes the most compassionate thing to say is, maybe not, or at least not yet. John Woolman was able to find humility and patience: laying the proper groundwork is essential.

And if that information is over your head - hey, nuclear power is complicated! - then maybe you need to keep listening.