What is a “calling”?

Is it possible for someone to be “called” to fulfill a purpose?  Who does the calling? How does this happen?  What does it feel like?

I suppose if a person believes in God, you could say that that is the entity doing the calling.  Priests and religious people sometimes talk as if they were called to a religious life by a higher power (although some may say this with humility, others might say it with arrogance). 

Can non-religious people be “called”?  I guess the answer is, it depends.  If we define a “calling” as some intense need to fulfill a purpose, it must be so because many non-religious people are highly successful in their work and personal lives.  Of maybe that is really ambition? 

However, I can tell you what it feels like to have a calling, although I cannot say where the calling came from. 

My “calling” filled my headspace and supplanted most all other thoughts.  It created its own agenda for my thinking.  A swirling of thoughts filled the space between my ears so that non-related thoughts couldn’t seep through.  The only resolution for, what I described as static brain interference, was is to cleanse the mish-mash of thoughts from my mind.   When I realized that I had been tapped for this “calling”, to tell the story of Vitoria, Spain, the only step I could take was to begin writing.

Writing my thoughts began as this effort to cleanse the patter I was hearing 24/7, yes, even in my sleep.  Dreaming about a place that I had visited for only a few hours during a three-week vacation in Spain was damaging me.  I had learned about the story of Vitoria as a side trip.  To survive the thought volcano, I felt that I had no choice but to expunge my mind just to have bandwidth for other thoughts.  What a great word: expunge.  I needed to rub out, obliterate, erase and delete these thoughts, so I began writing them down.

The writing ultimately turned into the historic novel At Vitoria, the account of various members of a Jewish family living in the face of the Spanish Inquisition and ultimately required to leave Spain in 1492 when King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella issued the Edict of Expulsion.  My thoughts ultimately became dialogue.  The swirling became plot twists.  This was my “calling”.  To write the story of Vitoria.