Last week I interviewed two octogenarian priests who are both celebrating their 60th year in the priesthood.
One of them said to me, “Trust the love that you discern in your own life. That’s God’s presence within us,” which seems to me to be some of the best advice I’ve ever received.
As we get older and we find ourselves having to make decisions, whether about our relationships or our careers or simply how to manage our day to day lives, and it turns out it can get kind of complicated as we accrue responsibilities and the typical baggage that comes with being alive and human.
We are, in some sense, ultimately alone in our decisions. It’s just us and those voices that well up from deep within us, the many facets of ourselves. The part that is impulsive and free, the responsible voice, the thing in us that doubts, the critical eye that cuts through our bullshit. All these voices are necessary and true parts of ourselves, but how do we know which part to trust? How do we ever know what to do?
I don’t know, maybe some of you don’t feel this quite so acutely, but I do from time to time. But it’s also not quite right. We are not alone.
When he said, “Trust the love that you discern within your own life,” he was really talking about relationships, I think, about the people we find that we love and that love us.
I lean on Denise pretty heavily when I have to make a decision, and other people who I love and who love me, and even though they cannot make my decisions for me, their love is within me, and that is God, and that is how I know what is true.
“Love is God’s grace,” he said. That voice speaking love is the true one.