Looking too Far Ahead

Dear Pope Francis,

First Day of School

All set for school!

It’s happening! It’s the end of July, and I’m ready for it to be fall. While, I am really excited to travelling home today, and wouldn’t want to wish the month of August away entirely, fall is definitely on my mind. It has a little bit to do with the fact that the weather has been fall-like here in Toronto the last couple of days, and that I’ve been scrambling to research for papers I need to write while I’m home (summer courses are a great idea, until there are papers to write…)

I am always the person who gets excited for the new thing. When it’s summer, I can’t wait for fall, and when it’s fall, I can’t wait for winter. When I’m on the East Coast, I look forward to going back to Toronto, and when I’m in Toronto, I can’t wait to go east. To some degree, I love living my life this way, because there is always something to look forward to. Sometimes, I run the risk of wishing away things when I’m bored with them (like every summer break for twelve plus years). When I start wishing things away, I have a much harder time enjoying them for what they are.

In addition to looking forward to the next thing, I love countdowns. At one point in May, I had four countdowns happening, one for my sister’s visit, one for Meredith’s first Toronto visit, one for another friend’s visit, and one for my trip in June. I will countdown how many assignments I have left to pass in at the end of the semester (three before September), how many courses I have left until I finish my M.Div. (seven), and just about anything else that seems relevant in my life (the next installment of my favourite book series, perhaps…). Thankfully, I have never had a countdown until I could start counting down (I don’t personally know anyone who has done this, but I believe someone, somewhere has!).

But all of this looking forward, off into the distance, stops me from looking at the ground right in front of me.

I know when I go for a walk, I’m supposed to walk with my head up to keep good posture, but sometimes, I need to watch the ground right in front of me because there are things on the sidewalk that could trip me (or maybe I’m just kicking a stone along and I need to see where it went). Looking at the ground right in front of me, while preventing an immediate fall, doesn’t give me a very good sense of direction, and doesn’t mean that I will notice when I’m about to run into a pole. So, I need to be able to do both, watch the ground and keep half an eye out for the general direction that I’m heading.

Cracks in the Sidewalk

Don’t trip!

I use discernment to help me keep a general direction. Movements of consolation or desolation help me to acknowledge where it is safe to walk, and when there are poles that I need to avoid. Sometimes they also tell me when I need to wait for something, like waiting for the cars before I cross the street. I will ultimately get to where I need to go, but I need some patience first.  In real life These safe places, poles and crosswalks, could be things like knowing that I to go home for a bit, or knowing that taking a certain job isn’t the right fit, or waiting out a tough time. Having a sense of the general direction that I’m going, allows me to recognize the smaller things that might trip me up, all the curbs, rocks and cracks in the sidewalk. I can avoid them, while keeping my general direction.

I think it’s been safe to say that there’s been lots of discernment for both Meredith and I in the last few months. I have definitely tripped up a little bit in the process, but as with anything else, I get up, dust myself off, and try to avoid running into the same pole or tripping over the same curb in the future.

 

Going for a discernment walk,

Lauren

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One thought on “Looking too Far Ahead

  1. Pingback: Discernment is not the New Pixie Dust | Letters to the Pope

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