What was your annunciation moment?

According to author David Brooks, an annunciation moment is when something sparks your interest, or casts a spell, or arouses a desire that somehow prefigures much of what follows in one’s life.

For many who have found their vocation, there is a defining “annunciation” moment that sets an early direction for their life’s work. In the midst of a vast and noisy world, something inside is quieted and they hear a voice that sparks a desire to explore something and live within it.

The poet, John O’Donohue, expressed these moments as “beautiful places where we felt immediately at home.”

It is embodied in the times when you felt most fulfilled, when you were doing something that felt instinctively effortless, when you felt “immediately at home.”

Two experiences come to my mind. One was listening to Earl Nightingale on the radio while driving to church with my father in our 1964 red Plymouth Valiant station wagon. I was thirteen years old but it became clear to me then that I would be one day be teaching and writing and communicating my ideas to the world.

Around this same time we lived across the road from a family with a volatile, angry, alcoholic father. We could hear the late-night yelling and banging and breaking. Their son would come over and spend time with me the next day. Nothing was said about it. We’d ride horses, explore the caves and the forest together. Although we didn’t talk about it, something inside me knew, before I could even articulate it, that I would one day support people who are dealing with trauma, tragedy, and misfortune in their lives.

What were your annunciation moments?