The discernment process will always go through a relationship with people who have already gone through the same thing as us, and who live the same dream.
No one is happy alone, nor is individualism and/or isolation the path to authenticity of life for anyone. We know that our choices will not please everyone, but that will be so, whatever our choices may be. However, we also know that those who truly love us, even if they disagree with us and/or even get angry, will never stop sticking around, and as soon as they see that we are indeed happy in the realization of what we dream of, all discontent will be behind us, as we have achieved what those who love us most desire: the happiness of an authentic life (even if it brings some headaches, like all forms of life).
This does not mean that it will be easy to follow the path of vocational discernment when those close to us are dissatisfied, or when there are so many difficult circumstances that seem to get worse because of it.
However, these are aspects that we cannot think about in isolation. On the contrary, we are not alone in facing this reality-others who have already traveled the path we are on [the one(s) who accompany us], will always be ready to point out to us ways to overcome and/or get around the obstacles.
Those who accompany us will not make the path for us, but they will help us to see further, to find other possibilities to solve what seems impossible to solve, and, most of all, they will be there to give us the strength to continue on our way when everything seems to want to bring us down.
So, we should look at the other as an ally, as one who helps find solutions and not as one who creates problems. Pope Francis invites us to “overcome these primary reactions, because the problem arises when doubts and fear so condition our way of thinking and acting that they make us intolerant and closed. And so fear deprives us of the desire and the ability to encounter the other” (Fratelli Tutti, n. 41).
To go beyond fear is to dare to break free from the chains that prevent us from moving forward and to fight for what we believe in, for what we are, and for what we most desire to be.
Getting stuck in an eternal “one day I’ll do this” or “I wish I could, but…” will never answer our desire for a full and authentic life. On the contrary, it will only keep us in the illusion that “tomorrow will come bright, easy and happy.” Well, if we think like that, tomorrow will always be tomorrow, it will never be today. We will always be living “a postponed life,” more and more isolated because we will be blowing in the wind: sometimes according to the opinions of some, sometimes according to the opinions of others.
Living one’s vocation and the discernment proper to the vocational journey is not about breaking relationships, it is about broadening relationships! No one is asking us to cut our relationships with other people (friends, family, etc.), but doing serious discernment will always involve relating to more people–to those people who have already gone through what we have, and who are living the dream that we think we have for ourselves.
In this way, it will not make sense to keep looking into the emptiness of the future. Rather, it is time to look at today and take concrete steps: overcome fear and go towards the other. In this case, we will live in fullness, not tomorrow, but in the here and now of our existence. That is why “let’s hope that there are no more ‘the others’, but only one ‘we’. Hopefully, we will have made a leap to a new way of living, and we will finally discover that we need and owe each other, so that humanity may be reborn with every face, every hand, and every voice, free from the borders we have created” (Fratelli Tutti, n. 35). (Susana Vilas Boas)