A tug and a pull…

I’m starting this Wednesday morning with a confession:  over the past couple of years, as I have worked with the concept of “discernment”, lived in a place of discernment, worked to always practice true discernment, listened, prayed, thought, probed –truthfully, I have come, well, to dislike the word discernment.  In fact, as of yesterday, I would do anything to avoid the word, the concept, the idea — if, sitting across from someone, they had leaned forward and told me in hushed tones that they were in a period of discernment, I probably would have had to leave the room — no matter the depth of their sincerity or need.  The word had become like the sound of crushing ground glass on my too-sensitive ears, especially these past few summer months while I was in self-imposed retirement from my journey.

That is where I was.  Over the past few days, and especially yesterday, that has all changed.

Oh, its not like I didn’t make what others might call “progress” along my journey during these months of repose from striving.  I am continually obsessed with the image of  a fork in the road…and the thought that, in our American culture, the expectation is that I should choose one or the other fork and get on with it.  But when I see the fork, I just keep seeing myself running ahead on the grass between.  Is that a failure to choose, or an acknowledgement that there are unseen roads that need to be followed, buried beneath the grass?

But yesterday, for a moment, in the middle of just a daily event, before my human, controlling mind could grasp what was happening, there was just a little tug….and I paid attention  — I stopped for just a second to record the feeling, to look around and see what was going on when it happened, and to listen to the possibility.  And then I went on with what I was doing.   And in that moment, I was given a wider view of just what living in discernment actually means.

You see, I, like so many other over-educated, over-achieving Americans, think that the process of discernment will lead me to a destination.  If I listen, I will get an answer.  My life will be in order, my faithfullness will be rewarded — I will find true peace and happiness.  And that, my friends, is not what discernment brings.  I have been wrong.

A life lived in discernment can, perhaps, bring the courage and the guidance to fuel your next step.  Maybe.  Or maybe not.  I’ll let you know after I take that next step.  And I’ll keep listening for that tiny tug that pulls me I don’t know where.


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