I had worked for over an hour on a post that spoke to the necessity of discernment. Then there was the accidental delete. I related an episode when I was forced to discern between two social goods that were at odds with another. In that case it was the establishment of a homeless shelter in a space that already had programming for families. I had to be one of those to decide if the two could be in the same space and I was not at all happy. I was not happy government had failed a vulnerable population and it seemed the only place where they could go was to a space that already served another vulnerable population. I was not happy that the city had failed in its social obligation and I was not happy that good people were called on to take up the cause of yet another failure of the state. And I was least of all happy I had to take a stand.
I had by that time in life become a “straight on” type person. It was rather liberating. I had spent my youth insecure and my new found “take a stand” and “go after what you want” approach to life brought some pain, but also no small amount of joy. That others could often receive the benefit of this made it all the better. Suddenly with Chicago and Illinois dropping the ball, I was in the place where I could not so easily be that way. I found myself again wanting to run and hide and wanting a situation to go away. After 40 years of life, I was 17 again. The experience was not pleasant, to say the least, but I did take a valuable lesson away from it.
I had learned that it was not always wise to be a creature of impulse, just as I had learned much earlier in life it did no good to be a creature of timidity. Between these two was the place of discernment.
Having deleted the post I cannot recall all of the thought behind this episode, but I know I concluded with some thought given over to individual and relational discernment. I will not recount all of that here either, but suffice it to say things like vocation and companionship cannot be done in either the intrusive or evasive way either. One is the path of recklessness and the other the path of cowardice. One leads to things like broken dreams and divorce; the other to denying the world your opus or the one you are meant for your presence. I know I spent a whole lot more verbiage on all of this earlier, but it comes down to the reality that we are too often prone to go too far or not far enough and it is really only with thought and prayer that we come to the proper place to be in when it comes to the most important of decision making.
Note: You can click here for what I find to be an example of good image editing of the film set to U2’s “Stay,” a song based on the movie. If you are one of those who don’t mind a little flourish and a lot of exposition you can see Marion’s soliloquy here.