‘I don’t know’ seems like an unworthy answer to Mary Oliver’s bold question.
Is it truthful? Yes. It is scary? Yes. But, is it my answer? ….yes.
During the first few days of June, I was lucky enough to attend a conference on discernment. My most favorite definition of this tricky word is ‘where your will for your life meets God’s will for your will’. It’s about taking the large questions of life (“who am I”, “what will I do with this life”, “what am I called to be”) and spending some time with them. This may sound easy, rest assured, it’s not!
In the commotion-filled world we live in, it is hard to hear our deepest desires. Heck, how often do we even just give our selves to just sit, and not think, so that voice can come out? I strive to do this on a daily basis, but I fail! In addition, my voices don’t seem to respond to a ‘command performance’. The more I push to ‘figure it all out’ the more I struggle to find my inner voice.
I met some great people this past weekend, was moved by honest presentations and explanations of discernment, and witnessed people who have discerned and are following their call. Like Marge, at Harmony, Hope, and Healing, who uses music as therapy for men and women suffering from homelessness. Trained as an opera singer, and a veteran all boys’ high school music teacher, Marge brought humor and discipline, with a side of iTunes.
As I sang and clapped with the woman and children of the shelter, it was so evident how they sang out their pain, finding hope in their own healing process, and motivation in their lyrics. The whole room was enveloped by song and dance, and I couldn’t help but think “this is the way I want to help change the world”. Marge took her greatest talents and used them so well.
For me, the take away lesson of the weekend was…..EASE UP! I’m a planner, I like to know things, and yes, I even like to control them. This can be motivating, but it can be strangling too. Currently, I’m in the latter position. So, I’ll forgive myself for at 25 years of age, not knowing what every step of my life will look like, or even just the next. Moving forward, for me means loving my God and not putting my needs above my neighbors. That’s gonna be my focus. I dare ya to hold me to it!
I’ll realize that the Journey is just as important as the Dream, and realize its ok to not know what either may be. I’ll find my purpose. I’ll trust.
And so it is with discernment, we have to hear the questions rising from within, sit with the uncomfortable, find the voice of our deepest self, so that one day, we might live into the answer.