Reflection Week 3: Coloring Outside the Lines

I was reading to my girls today and was held for a moment by this page in our book. 

Dear Girl, Coloring OUTSIDE the lines cool too.
from Dear Girl, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Paris Rosenthal

And I thought about one of the first questions I asked in this space: “Are there things outside the boundaries that may be life giving?”

I ordered a new journal this week, a sketchbook actually, because I wanted more space and no lines. 

I have a sense that there are things outside the Catholic tradition that will help me to more deeply understand and appreciate what is held within.  This is relatively new territory for me.  I have not spent much time asking questions outside the boundaries of the Church.  I love the idea of knowing diverse sets of people, but the idea of finding and forging those relationship makes me uncomfortable.  A mix of introversion and self-doubt overshadows my desire to know and care for people with languages and cultures that are unfamiliar to me.  The idea of coloring outside the lines is exciting and scary to me.  I’d like to bring an eraser along in case it gets too messy.   

In dreaming about the church this week, I was intentional about thinking about the possibilities of what could be. I wanted to be sure that I was dreaming into possibilities, not simply trying to correct current ills.  Being in this space with you all is helping me to widen my perspective and dream bigger still. 

Dreaming is not a solo act.  If I am dreaming of a community where “each person has the space to live fully into their own vocation and be in community with others who are doing the same,”   then my dreams need to hold space for the dreams of others–even when they make things look messier and draw me into uncharted spaces.     

2 thoughts on “Reflection Week 3: Coloring Outside the Lines

  1. Suppose, dear Jeanne, you consider this journal as an adventure, a scavenger hunt, or just visual note-taking, not a work product. (As a “1” on the Enneagram, I get the perfect work product part.) What if instead of applying an eraser, the “mess” were to become part of an emerging work of art, an illustrated record of how your quest and vision is widening? More symbols and hand-drawn connections, not a lot of laborious writing. Check out some of Delfin’s posted visual notes.

    In my life, I observe that with God nothing is lost or wasted. What I think of as “mess” may not be that at all. (In the old translation of the Exsultet we sing, “O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, that won for us so great a Redeemer!”) Yup. I keep thinking of my granddaughter’s artwork in all its different stages.The earlier ones are my favorites. I’ll bet you have a treasured collection of your own.

    You know who you are, Jeanne, and you seem thoroughly grounded, even when asking questions. Outside the lines is more commonality than you think and a lot of helpful insight. One of my best experiences ever was being welcomed into an interfaith group of women ministers and I the only non-ordained person in the lot (alas, Catholicism). And did I have questions! There I met lovely woman rabbi completing a spiritual direction program at Mercy Burlingame. Imagine that! Then of course I married a Jew which opened up a whole new world, including a small but useful Yiddish vocabulary. Oy vey! Not to worry — graced surprises await you. Enjoy!

  2. This is a beautiful page in a book that I’ve long wanted to read. Getting closer! The idea “there are things outside the Catholic tradition that will help me to more deeply understand and appreciate what is held within,” is a very Catholic idea! We seek truth wherever it is found. My yoga training has given me a deeper understanding of many things in Catholicism. Excited for what you will discover out there.

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