Life is not like hopping on a train. We don’t just decide once where we are going, jump aboard and end up at our destination. It is more like a car ride. We need to decide where we are going at the beginning, but then according to that decision we need to decide how we are going to get there at each junction. The choice of every turn renews our initial choice of our final destination. But life is most like a journey on foot. Not only do we have to choose our fundamental direction and renew that choice at each junction, but we have to sweat for our choices. If we don’t want to sweat, we just don’t choose, unlike a car ride.
Discernment isn’t complicated. It is simply listening to God’s gentle, quiet voice. Sometimes it is clear and obvious; sometimes it is whispered. But it is never mumbled. The fact that discernment is simple doesn’t mean it is easy. Selfishness, pride, vanity and the noise of life often make it so hard to hear that whisper. Nonetheless, if we bend low and really want to hear it, we will. God is not trying to deceive us.
This discernment is key to a fulfilled life. Why? Because there is no cookie-cutter in the Divine Carpenter’s workshop. He made each of us personally and chose a personal path for each of us. His voice leads us to this happiness he so wants to give. We need to discern his guiding hand not only in the big choices that give a fundamental direction to our lives. We also need to discern his gentle voice each day. God doesn’t just guide us to a generic, final happiness at the end of our lives. He wants us to be fully alive each day, and he guides us to that each day. Discernment isn’t just for setting out. It is an attitude of a docile child that we need to foster every day. Not always easy, but simple and fulfilling for sure.