Monday, June 22, 2009

Maine and Discernment

The drive to Maine was beautiful, but for some reason the drive there was a full hour longer then the drive back to Vermont going the exact same route.

We saw 3 moose, 1 beaver, 1 snake, 1 crab-like thing, 1 suicidal vulture, heard howling coyotes, and there's way too many mosquitoes. The lakes where spectacular and the mountains shrouded in clouds. I didn't take a lot of pictures though, but when the roll gets developed I'll post one or two.

We had a very good time and for a couple of days I was able to let my worries mostly go. But there's a sadness that's crept into my heart, and I don't know whether to honor it or kick it out. I really should just get over it already.

My last discernment visit left me confused and worried. We started out the conversation par usual. And we talked about how there's times when I'm writing something and it just comes out, just flows, and when it's done you know, and you know it is good, very good. And how I have these moments in conversations with people too. It's like the Holy Spirit is working through you. And I'm not convinced he totally got what I was talking about, which caught me off guard because he writes sermons.

We also, I think, had a good discussion overall, and then within the last 10 minutes of our time he (and I had wondered when we where going to review my last set of material and was getting ready to bring it up but...) mentioned that he had looked at my last set of work, and that he really should have written some notes down, and then his words hit me like a ton of bricks and his comments came in a stream. And I'm sitting there in shock and I know that he sees my reaction. And I can't believe he'd saved these comments for the last 10 minutes, and he doesn't want to discuss it with me, but instead gives me my next assignment to sort of address what he had said.

With that said the comments were not horrid, they were more along the lines of what-how-is-that-all-you-heard, I don't think I'll get booted out of the process (though that is my deepest fear, so some of my sadness is self-pity). I told him I had to sit and reflect on what he said. He did end the conversation with, you're doing good work, this is good work.

I asked him if he had time (he'll be away for many weeks soon) to skim my now last set of work 'cause as I told a friend if he doesn't like this he's going to hate [my now last set of work]. So, I did the what's the worst that could happen exercise: (a) the process stops here, (b) the process gets extended for this part of it, (c) it all turns out fine and the process proceeds as normal.

I think what hurts the most is that I feel like I have somehow let my own self down.


murat11 said...

jsd: Careful about mention of that snake: New Englanders like to think they have none. Not even the one I saw on my first group hike in New Hampshire about 17 years ago.

I suppose it's necessary to travel through all the heart's crevices and bring it all to the light. Prayers to you, as always, on that journey.

jsd said...

murat: I didn't know New Englanders were embarrassed by their snakes.

I was very torn about sharing the discernment stuff, and may as yet pull it.

Lee said...

JS, prayers for discernment and understanding between you and your priest. It's gotta be hard when you open yourself up and think this is what you are supposed to be doing and they don't get it. For what it's worth, I get it totally. But I've always wondered how those folk who spend lots of time analyzing the workings of the spirit and their priests teachings ever learn how to let the spirit guide them. Sometimes it just takes faith.

I don't think you'll get kicked out of the process either. Surely he has been a priest long enough to know that different priests have different approaches. The journey is unique to each and every one of us.

Hugs! & I'll call!

jsd said...

lee: thank you for your words -- I'm feeling alot better today.

I have evening church meetings today and tomorrow - so Thursday maybe we can catch up.

San said...

Sounds like you're being a bit hard on yourself. Probably means you're going to be a priest who "gets it" when it comes to others' doubts.

jsd said...

san: yeah, I think I was -- it was just so unexpected...but, I'm feeling better about it all. I keep thinking at some point this process gets easier - I'm told that happens once you're in seminary - not much longer now ;-)