Our speaker at Weekly Manna yesterday was my friend Martha (Marty) Storz, the Bernhard M. Christensen Chair in Religion and Vocation at Augsburg College. Marty’s talk was titled, “The Big Questions.” She used the questions posed by God in Chapters 3 and 4 of Genesis as her frame for talking about discernment.
Marty began her talk by sharing a conversation she had had with a student who was trying to decide whether to accept a prestigious internship in another city or stay home, where her beloved grandmother was ailing and on her way to death. The student, torn between an internship that could have an enormous impact on her career and the ability to spend precious time with her grandmother, asked, “What should I do?” Marty’s reply was “Where is the invitation?”
The reframing of the question, she observed, made an enormous difference to the student. The two questions are very different.
“What should I do” implies I am the moving agent, free to choose unrestrictedly. “Where is the invitaion? reminds us that we are always responding to God’s call, trying to discern where God is calling us. Changing the question, completely changes how one approaches discerning between various options.
Sometime the best answer to a question is another question.