I feel (only) slightly guilty about leaving many of you in the lurch on this blog during my discernment days. As I reported earlier, I’ve been directly introduced to the work of the Catherine of Siena Institute and our parish’s effort to develop a greater lay involvement in the mission of Christ to the world. Amazing as it may seem, I have writer-aspects to my life other than blogging, and I’ve been trying to remain faithful to discerning those aspects as well.
One of the new ideas to which I’ve been introduced is the pairing of charisms, and looking at how this plays out in the Holy Spirit’s movement in the lives of believers. Knowledge and wisdom, for example, might seem even at a quick glance, to be natural partners, kind of like strawberries and cream.
In my case, I’m exploring the pairing of music and writing. I’ve had an opportunity to do more composing in the past year, and in charting out larger works based on Saint Paul, Tobit, and Ruth, I’ve found a lot of support from a few students as well as an actor and editor in the parish who have affirmed my direction. It’s become clear to me that composing is a combined charism that is probably present to me and for my community. What does that mean? Writing songs likely needs to have more of a regular presence in my schedule. Taking a few hours each week, minimum, to devote myself to the musical end of the writing I’ve done would seem to be in order.
I also write professionally, and while one of the main reasons I do this is to bring in additional income to support my family, this sort of writing is also at the service of the Church. One of the discernments I’m trying to sort out involves continuing this despite a possible clearer calling to involve more creativity and my artistic side in some new endeavors. If I needed to make a choice, would I accept less income in order to develop a charism? I suppose I would.
As I’ve been reflecting on writing this past week, I’ve done less here because more is percolating in my mind. I’ve been looking back at memories of writing: how I got started doing it, what early feedback I received, do I sense the closeness of God or just a neutrality from the Divine?
I have to confess that part of me considered entering the discernment process as old hat. I’ve been in spiritual direction since 1982. Discernment has been a part of graduate school, ministry formation, 12-Step work, my marriage, adoption, and other crucial life decisions. I’ve striven to work with parishioners and discern with them their best calling for the good of the community and the flowering of their own gifts. But I have to also confess my absolute delight that this process has uncovered new aspects for me, and new ways of looking at gifts discerned long ago.
For those of you who are growing impatient with my navel-gazing, I plead for your indulgence over the next few days. I hope to return to RCIA next Monday. I suspect there will be a dialing-down of snark on some church aspects, too. I’m less convinced than ever of the charism of being a “smart-ass,” and just because other Catholics may indulge in it, it doesn’t follow that I need to follow.
Meanwhile, if you’ve been a reader over the years, what observation would you offer on my writing here? If you’re relatively new, what has been your early impression. You can use the combox or take it off line to my e-mail address in the sidebar. Remember that no private e-mails are bloggable here unless you give me express permission to use them.