“You are in another stretch of discernment,” the monk was saying, “There’s a bigger world outside the convent. Explore your gifts, then see and follow where God is calling you.”
I was in a silent retreat, and the monk who facilitated it had a one-to-one talk with each of us. Like what most people know, I entered the convent to see if religious life was for me and discerned that it was not. I had crossed out one option in my list, but the discernment did not end there. Just like what the monk said, I was in another stretch.
“Which among the things that you do you enjoy the most?” the monk asked.
“Hmmm… I think, writing. I enjoy writing, father,” I answered.
“Well then, explore writing. Write and show your works to the world. If many are being blessed by them, then maybe it’s what God is asking you to do. In this stage, you have to be fearless, determined, courageous and prayerful. If you can, have spiritual direction often.”
I admired the wisdom of that monk. I thought he was right in all angles because weeks after I talked to him, I found myself holding a paintbrush or a ukulele, or having my fingers spread on piano keys. And not writing. But it didn’t feel wrong. I was happy.
I discovered that I could be what Emilie Wapnick call “multipotentialite.” I was passionate about many things, but not a master of any. Looking at it, it only made the discernment more confusing. Should I just explore everything? It looks as if there was no one clear, straight path for me. Don’t I have a “one true calling” like some people? So I tried to look deep and search for the root of all this.
All I was sure of was it’s self-expression that I loved. I wanted to share a part of myself with the world, that place or atmosphere – whatever it was – within me where I got my peace and joy and fire. I called it haven. It was something intangible and perhaps, not exposed enough to be easily perceived, but I believed it was beautiful. Perhaps, I found a whit of God’s portion in me and saw arts as a way of confirming that it was there, that it was alive, and that I could keep it. I wanted others to have pieces of it and to make it part of them.
I don’t know, but maybe, it’s how it works for “multipotentialites.” There is no one way, but it doesn’t mean that nothing’s clear. There’s only the source, the purpose. As for me, I think I should focus on exploring and improving that haven – a whit of God’s portion in me – and share as many pieces of it as I can.