Saturday, September 14, 2019

What Does Active Discernment Mode Mean to You?

Earlier this week, one of my favorite pastors sent me a private message to let me know that this past summer had been her last summer at camp.  She said that she and her spouse had been in a time of "active discernment mode."

I knew that this time was not far away, the time when she announced her retirement.  Still, it was a week of many pangs, many realizations of how many "last" times are coming.

I wrote back to my pastor friend, "You said you and Pastor Tim were in "active discernment mode" this summer. I would love to know what that looked like. I have this vision of a breakfast of beautiful summer fruit, followed by writing in your journals, then a silent hike, and then a sharing of what you heard that morning. I have an idealistic vision of you two doing this all summer. But I know that there are many routes to discernment, and this retreat seems like a theme that fits with teaching people some of the ways to do that."

The next morning, I wrote a poem that explores what active discernment mode would mean to me in the best of circumstances.

Unfortunately, lately my active discernment often comes through frustration followed by weeping and gnashing of teeth and repressing the urge to throw a few things in the car and drive far, far away.  And yes, that has been my discernment message delivery system since I was about fifteen years old.

Clearly it's time for a new method of active discernment.  So, let me try an alternate approach.

When I heard my friend's news, my first thought was to write the camp to ask if they might be interested in hiring a person who would be in charge of adult and online programming.  My heart sang out at the thought of that job. 

That's a much more pleasant method of discernment than the one I usually use!

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