Disconcerting discernment

I have to admit that the novelty of the blog has drawn my attention away from my private journal, but I returned to that sorely neglected volume this weekend and have been thinking about what I wrote ever since. I've spent the last several weeks focusing my energy and attention on my art, leaving the issues of discernment and call fallow--partly with the intention of seeing what develops and partly as a much-needed escape from that particular arena of self-scrutiny.

As I was writing this weekend I was struck by the phrase "Follow the money." That's what they always say in TV crime dramas: follow the trail of the money associated with a crime and it will lead you back to the bad guy. For me, the parallel thought that followed was, "Follow the energy." Perhaps this is pathetically obvious to those who know me well, but for me it's something I'm still coming to terms with. What if I look honestly and critically at myself and ask the question, "Where is my passion and energy?" Is it for ordained ministry within the church? Is it ministry of another kind through art? Can that other ministry be within the church? Is it exclusive of ordination? Honestly, just don't know the answer, but for about 2 months now I've been leaning more toward finding some form of non-ordained ministry and I've started to face up to the fact that it's making art that really gets me going. Strangely I'm finding that change in perspective hard, possibly even disappointing. I've spend a long time getting my head around the idea of possibly being a priest. Now I feel as though I need to disentangle myself from that line of thinking (even if only temporarily) if I'm going to figure out what the real answer is to those questions.

As I read back over it, the preceding paragraph sounds so wishy-washy and tentative, but I actually feel like it's progress. Maybe some of us we need to take a while to figure out what we're not going to do before we can figure out what we are going to do. And, interestingly enough, that line of thinking harks back to Parker Palmer's book, Let Your Life Speak: Listening to the Voice of Vocation, which I've read twice and found challenging each time. He makes a strong case for not doing the wrong thing for the right reason.

On the up side, I've taken a yard of cloth that I printed at Peters Valley and begun working back into it with hand stitching, machine couching of yarn, painting. I have a plan to do a bit of applique work and quilt the whole piece. I hope to have something to show (prior to quilting) in a couple of days.

Enough for now...more than enough.