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Baby Steps toward Discernment

March 13, 2007

My rector has been actively working to help people think about and discover their “gifts” – in order to better help people determine what and where they might be able to contribute to our church community. She has been doing some workshops, giving out some assessments and getting people to think of their own individual strengths and how they might be used.

After part 2 of the workshops, she invited us to make individual appointments with her to discuss our gifts and our SHAPE, and such.

A few weeks ago, I had mentioned to Mother Jaclyn that I was feeling “called” (or that I had eaten an underdone potato, not sure which!), and we had a very brief conversation about it. She mentioned the need to honor your other vows, and I was in despair for a bit, because, I know that my husband is not happy, not happy at all, with my involvement in my church. He’s jealous of it, and thinks I’m basically insane, which is, of course, not very far from true! 😉

I’ve continued to pray, and decided to stop being so shy about this niggling feeling I have, and to talk about it further with Mother Joan. So, with great nervousness, I emailed her yesterday, and we are going to have lunch tomorrow, and talk. I feel like a pompous idiot. Maybe my husband is right, and I’m crazy. Now Mother Joan and Mother Jaclyn will know I’m crazy too.

So, I’ve opened this door a tiny crack further. The slow process is begun, I guess.

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. Wormwood's Doxy permalink
    March 13, 2007 12:56 pm

    Good on you!!!

    I wish I knew what to say about your husband. That is so hard—to be out of synch on an issue that is so important to you.

    Is he open to counseling?

  2. Mary Sue permalink
    March 13, 2007 1:13 pm

    Sanity is highly overrated.

    Prayers for you in this roller-coaster time of discernment!

  3. Grandmère Mimi permalink
    March 13, 2007 1:42 pm

    Eileen, I will pray for you and your husband.

    A priest I know, who was originally from our congregation, waited and prayed for two years for his wife to come round to being comfortable about being a priest’s wife. I’m not giving advice to you, just sharing an anecdote. People can change.

  4. Dennis permalink
    March 13, 2007 2:27 pm

    and what makes you think that this is only a baby step and not a very important big step, huh?
    Be true to your call (and to all of your other commitments, of course) but be true to your call and don’t try to down play it or explain it away as something little or a baby step.

    Playing it down won’t make it work out with your previous commitment to your husband. Perhaps the only way to be loyal and true to both of those “calls” (ministry, husband) is to be fervently, truly and totally present and excited about both of them.

    think of this image: you have two glasses, your two calls (or more even!) Anyway, instead of quietly trying to pour a little wine from one glass to the other in the hope of no one noticing until voila! you have some wine in each, go get the damned bottle (energy, life, ruach, spirit) and fill both of your cups overflowing. loudly, proudly fill them both.

    (just a thought. probably not my place to say. take it for what it is worth. In studies some patients have reported mild side effects including headache, nausea, etc. Do not take while operating machinery. This advice is not for everyone. See your doctor for more information)

    prayers for you and your husband

  5. Luiz Coelho permalink
    March 13, 2007 4:34 pm

    And now you have thousands of virtufriends around the world praying for you.

    Ye heretic wannabe priest!

  6. Share Cropper permalink
    March 13, 2007 9:40 pm

    Amen, girl. Discernment is the only way to go. By the time your parish discernment committee gets through with you, you’ll know for sure whether or not you have a call. You may not know to what you are called, but you will have answered a lot of questions – your own and others.

    My husband was also doubtful of my call, but he supported me throughout the process and into seminary. I am not ordained, but “the fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars but in ourselves…..”

    So grab onto to your dream with one hand and your hubby with the other and try on “the call”. I’ll be keeping you in my prayers – a lot of prayers.

  7. MoCat permalink
    March 13, 2007 10:06 pm

    I’m with Dennis on this one – Grab that bottle and go for it! Don’t just open the door a crack, fling it open and have a proper look around. You’ll never know if you were meant to open it until you do. 🙂

    My spouse is not into the church thing either, but she’s supportive of me and where I need to be – May your husband find the same clarity.
    I’m putting your name on my prayer list girl, in ink!

  8. Julie+ permalink
    March 13, 2007 10:13 pm

    What Dennis and Mocat said! But in addition, talk, talk, talk to your husband. Not only will that help him to not feel shut out of the process, talking will help you articulate your sense of call.

    God clearly has plans for you, Eileen, don’t be afraid to ask God what the heck they are! (And yes, I know EXACTLY how scary the asking is!) My prayers are with you.

  9. Kirstin permalink
    March 13, 2007 10:34 pm

    Praying with you. And excited for you.

    I read Listening Hearts for my Christian Ed class this week. We can talk about it now!

  10. Bill permalink
    March 14, 2007 7:57 am

    Eileen, go and do what your heart tells you is right. We’ve had some email chats, so you know my mind on this.

    One other thing, when you meet for your discussion, don’t hold anything back. One thing I learned in therapy, is that it only works if you’re totaly open.

  11. Eileen permalink
    March 14, 2007 10:05 am

    I love all of you! Thank you, for your encouragement, prayers, and heartfelt advice.

    It means alot to me!

  12. Mystical Seeker permalink
    March 14, 2007 12:05 pm

    If you haven’t read the book “Do you hear what I hear?” by Minna Proctor, you might find it interesting. The author was not religious and discovered one day that her father felt a calling to be an Episcopal priest, so she went on an examination of the nature of calling. You might also be interested in Barbara Brown Taylor’s book “Leaving Church”.

  13. Ann permalink
    March 14, 2007 12:23 pm

    Yes – all should read “Leaving Church” by BBT — the calling to parish priest is not for the faint of heart.

  14. March 14, 2007 12:30 pm

    Yes, yes! That’s what the church needs! Heretics out of the pews and behind the pulpit! (heh heh heh)

    In all sincerity, peace of Christ as you seek discernment.

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