Sunday, November 19, 2006

The work of discernment

Discernment is tedious work. I would never have even thought about how tedious it can be, had I not had to be in the process. It's sort of rewarding (in its own way) because I can actually see how far I've come—and subsequently fear how far there is to go.

For one thing, the questions I asked my first year were different from those the second, and those the third. Now I'm starting year 4... and, sure enough, the questions are all new. So many questions... so many different shades of gray for the answers.

My first year I asked things like "What was I thinking? When am I gonna get bored with all this praying? Will I want to do this for the rest of my life? Why am I here God? Did you possibly make a mistake? How can I ever live with these neurotic women?" All the focus was on me, me, me... and them, them, them. My second year was still very much me, me, me, but the emphasis shifted to " I'll never measure up. What were you thinking, God? Why is this so hard?" My third year was more along the lines of: "Am I wasting the time of these women I now love? What if I do decide to leave? How will that feel? Why am I still hanging around if I'm even considering leaving?"

Each step along the way I've had wise counsel from mentors and fellow candidates. I've complained and laughed and prayed my way through most of it, with only the occasional response from God. So far that response has been: Stay put, I want you here. I can use you better here. and I rejoiced the occasional times I heard that loud and clear. Last year the question: "Is this just necessary training for something else... something harder?" kept cropping up. That one hasn't been answered. Another thought: This life is too easy. How can it be a real call if it's this easy? But of course the life is not easy— It's only easy in ways I've never experienced before.

So where am I now? This very minute? Well, the questions are more thought-provoking and have more to do with the community itself than with me being a nun. What does this community really stand for? How do I fit into that picture? Do they really mean what they claim to profess when it gets down to the nitty-gritty? Do I really mean what I claim to profess?

Discernment is tedious work.


Lisa said...

May the breaking open of new questions lead to even more beautiful blossoms!

by the bay said...

I have found unending questions (now in year 2), but most of them are very lonely questions, as there are only a few of us in the world who are Third Order Frans in The Salvation Army. So I end up trying to talk to Anglican brothers and sisters who simply have such a different perspective on it all it is a difficult struggle to cross the cultural divide. I am far from a typical Salvationist, but I'm still a 'sally' at heart. TSA also has no spiritual directors I've come across so I've ended up with a wonderful catholic nun instead - she's great. But while I sit here wondering if TSA will ever even decide to accept its own Franciscans' vocations and be responsible for them, I realise I'll be the first. It is a lonely, difficult, but creative, place to be. 'Do I really mean what I claim to profess' is a constant question, as is always 'what will a Franciscan vocation in TSA 'look' like?
Warmest blessings
Eleanor n/TSSF

Gerry Lantagne said...

Hopefully I can connect with you! I am also an artist, mom, grandmother, and I'm 57 years old. I was widowed 8 years ago..on Thurs, Nov. 30....and have been on quite a roller coaster ride since then. Finally, I believe that I have arrived at the destination that God intended. It is just that I am the first Mom that has shown up on the doorstep of the Sisters' of Benedict at the Red Plains Monastery in Piedmont, Oklahoma. It would be so nice to have someone to compare notes with!
At the present time, I am in the very first stages of entering, which we call the Hildegard Program, next is the Postulance, then first vows. My children are fine with the choice (now), but I'm just wondering what kind of challenges you have come up against! I would love to visit with you...
I keep getting dead ends when looking for other "Sister Moms"!

my email address is

Looking forward to visiting with you, and many blessings to you!