So, I had my meeting to discuss a way forward in the discernment process … one of my priests went with me. We had a very candid discussion about my application and the findings that came out of my meetings to date. I thought that it was a very positive and productive meeting because we were able to come up with actionable ideas of projects and other things I can work on in my parish and the wider diocese. The tone of the meeting was very candid and cooperative. There was a great deal of clarity on all points of view, and most importantly, we came up with constructive ideas.
The bottom line, of course, is that I will withdraw my application for a time and hope to reactivate it in a year or so and come back to the diocese with the things I have worked on. I was told from the beginning this was a “great gift” and I got the impression from various folks that this is rare, if not unheard of.
I apparently have made some very positive impressions on quite a few people, or I would have been told “no” at this point or allowed to continue and then told “no” at a later date, neither of which would have been pleasant. But, I am taking this bit of news and our discussions today as a sign to pause and then resume our work at a later date.
While I remain disappointed that things have not gone as I would have liked or expected, I am grateful for the opportunity and the challenge to get “in the trenches.” I don’t know exactly how that will take shape as of yet, but we kicked around a few ideas that I had brought up. They were warmly received and I was encouraged to run with it.
Finally, I am ever mindful of St. Paul’s words, “All things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) God’s hand, I am sure is in all of this, but I admit I don’t entirely see how. However, a great deal of fun and adventure is waiting to be had to discover what that hand is doing and where it is pointing. Or even, if that hand is a singing naked sock puppet!