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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Get Thee to a Nunnery!

Actually, that's a poor title. When Hamlet said that to Ophelia, he wasn't complimenting her. In fact, he'd gone mad, and in the process drove her mad by breaking her heart.

Shakespeare must have been a fan of Flannery O'Connor, too.

Things are progressing on the Vocation front. I finally heard back from the Vocation Director at the community I hope to visit, and she confirmed the dates suggested to me would be good ones. I'm currently looking at the week of July 5th or the following, July 12th, and doing airfare research. Even for the tail end of the holiday weekend the fares are looking very good so I hope I can lock in at a good price!

I emailed the dates to our local Vocations Office, as I had been requested to do (as I had requested assistance from them), and also to my Pastor, also per his request. I heard back from the V.O. and they asked me to either put the ticket on my credit card or see if someone I knew would do so on my behalf. I responded that I could place it on mine.

Thank God that for now, my credit is still good!

The Family

Realizing that it seems that truly, truly this trip is going to happen, I need to start planning now. It doesn't matter that I'm overwhelmed with a massive project at work that has me so stressed out I can barely see straight. I'm trying to look through the disaster of the moment in order to avoid a disaster in the next!

I don't actually own a set of luggage. Whenever I've gone on various trips, I used duffel bags or borrowed luggage not being used by friends or relatives. In fact, when I spent a semester in Mexico, my Mom had purchased some luggage at a garage sale. We didn't realize until about 3 days before I left that it had a broken zipper and no way was it going to be repaired in time! Thus began my life of airtravel using borrowed containers. That trip utilized my cousin's army duffel bag. (Customs in Mexico City wasn't fooled...I didn't look militant in the least! But they searched me anyway.)

Last year when I went to Ohio, I used my brother's luggage, so today I called him again. After all, he DOES know about my discernment...at least to a degree. He'd been really nonchalant about it, which is typical of him, so it's hard to know what he's thinking. So here's how our conversation went this evening:

Me: "Can I borrow your luggage again?"

Bro: "Sure. Where are you going?"

Me: "Connecticut. In July."

Bro: "Oh really? What's out there?" (casual interest)

Me: (pause, dropping voice a little): "Oh, just some Sisters I'm gonig to visit. The Archdiocese and my parish are helping me with the flight." (keepin' it casual....)

Him: Oh, really? Why?

Me: Because I'm considering entering that community and I have to visit to find out if it's a life I want to live, and whether it's where I'm supposed to be.

Him: Oh....REALLY!!!???? Oh!!! (pause). Okay....... (some questions followed.)

I asked him, as I had before, not to tell Mom, and said that, considering I was going, that I will have to tell her sometime soon. She, like everyone else, knows I'll pretty much be out of work for the summer and a flight out East to a state in which, as far as I know, we have no relations or any earthly reason to visit, well...that would prompt questions. I can't lie to my Mom. I can hedge a bit, but I can't lie to her.

So she's going to find out, finally. I'm just waiting for the rest of the family to find out...she will NOT be able to keep this to herself, even if she tries. It'll come out, somehow. But I can't go to them for help because of bridges I burned with them in the past (as Mom just LOVES to tell me) in my years of stupidity. Actually, I'm still living those years and can't seem to get out of them.

But there's hope. There's always hope.

I can't even tell you how hard my discernment has been, and in all liklihood, will continue to be. This, truly, is the beginning. Not the end. It helped, in learning from a Sister last Friday that she experienced the same kind of Hell, and I know of someone else who had similar difficulties and, I'm guessing, is STILL suffering to follow Our Lord towards the Vocation for which she was created.


But all will be well. Somehow. I'm glad to finally have something to look forward to, even as it seems so scary. So different. I'll be removed from everything that I know and everyone that I know (as I won't be likely to actually see the Sisters I know while on my visit), and there, confront the questions I've been asking since 2004 in a very real way. Finally.

God's timing is always perfect.

I wonder if my discernment retreat with the Sisters will be anything like Luke Skywalker's trek through the jungle with Yoda on his back? After all, I'll be flying into a state that borders water, and I'll be moving through clods of Sisters in habits and trying not to knock over statues in the convent hallways and gardens....

I think I need a Luke/Yoda holy card with a prayer for discernment on back. Would that be sacriligious?

The fact is that real vocational discernment is an extremely grating experience.

And if it weren't for my friends (like the one who sent me the nun pic in a birthday card), there's no way I would even have gotten THIS far!

CAN I SHAMELESSLY BEG NOW?

I've been told by a very good priest that honest begging is good for humility. It's one thing to "bleg" for books or for help for a living creature (like my dog, a few years ago), but I find it hard to "bleg" or beg for myself, even if I do have legitimate needs. I've been so independent for so long that I don't really know how, anymore, to truly lean on others. But God has brought me to a wall, and to my knees. Dignity has nothing to do with it...or perhaps...everything. Truly, our dignity lies in knowing to whom we are drawn...and indebited. And choosing Him no matter what "wisdom" the world dictates in our direction.

1. As I've written many times, people in discernment need very hands-on practical assistance. Discernment isn't ultimately about money. Fundraisers are great, but they aren't everything, and in fact, all the money in the world means nothing if prayer isn't involved. If God isn't a part of the process, then it is doomed to failure. So, first and foremost, I ask for prayers, not just for me, but for ALL who are discerning their vocations. The agony is a hidden agony, and perhaps one day I'll collect the stories of the agony and the ecstasy of discernment, write/publish a book, and make a lot of money for the Serra Club. But for now, it's a bit too close and too personal and I realize that if it weren't for prayers, I'd have been lost long ago. Thanks to all those who have prayed and have continued praying for me, and for all those in your life who are trying to follow God's will, step after bloody step. Even with all the gore, there truly is joy in growing closer to Him.

2. If I am to go on this trip, I need assistance with my dog. I have one friend who might be able to stay with her, but if she is busy, it would be fine if my dog went to stay with someone else for the week or so that I'm gone. She is an indoor dog (as I live in a townhome) and is an escape artist who cannot be kenneled without either getting out or risking her life to do so. I know a few people who may be able to assist but if they aren't available, I need options. This isn't a request for money to put her in a kennel...I learned long ago she doesn't eat in captivity. So...prayers for a solution here!

3. I will need a ride to the airport, and a ride home when I arrive. Last year when I went I used Super Shuttle, by far the cheapest way to go to and from the airport, but it still cost me about $70.00 round trip. Tomorrow when I see my SD I'll bring this up to him in case someone on the Vocations Committee is willing to do that or knows someone who is.

4. I need someone to pay my mortgage ($950.00) for a couple months.... No? OK. :-) Sorry, I was on a roll!

5. In all seriousness, as I posted the other day, some wonderful friends surprised me by putting together a little vocation fund for me. None of these people have met me in person, and perhaps that's what amazes me the most. They don't live in my diocese, they know me only from my blog and social networking sites. They don't think I'm a Saint, and in fact, they KNOW I am not! And perhaps that's why I'm so surprised and so touched. Because they went to this trouble and because it reveals to me how much people really DO want to help, I am posting the webpage again, and with great thanks to all. http://www.blogger.com/www.frleo.com/adoro

All I can say to everyone is thank you! I can't promise anything. I can't deliver results. God can. I don't know if I am called to religious life or if your support will be in vain. I don't know what is going to happen to me. The only thing I know is that I'm ready for the next thing, I have the time, and I look forward to the adventure. It's time. Finally.

And this is really only the first real step.

God be praised!

From Vespers:

Ant. If you hunger for holiness, God will satisfy your longing, good measure, and flowing over.


Sacred Heart of Jesus...I trust in thee!
Immaculate Heart of Mary...pray for us!

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Funny timing. I donated a little bit of money for you earlier today, and you are certainly in my prayers. Please keep my discernment in your prayers as well.

Begging is not just good practice in humility for you, by the way. It is also a gift for the rest of us who are able to pray for you and give in other ways. You know, I'll pray a rosary for you tonight or tomorrow.


(I'm a regular reader + commenter, just wanted to be anonymous here.)

craig said...

You're absolutely amazing and admirable. I too am discerning a vocation, not to a community but to the diocesan priesthood, but I can see the source of your agony. It's tough, and I think 1) that God only chooses those that he knows are strong and resiliant enough to stand the test or 2) that this will be the biggest and most difficult test you will go through and God knows that and will help you. For some reason, I've been lacking in prayer lately, and I know that without it, my discernment will me fruitless. Pray for me, as I pray for you. I can understand the extent of your agony, and wish you the greatest blessings in the future. You blog is so hopeful, know that.

makemeaspark said...

Who says we don't think you are a saint? I know you have all the ingredients for a saint, but i am pretty realistic about saints, I know they are real people who struggle a lot! You are fighting the good fight and that is admirable!

Quantitative Metathesis said...

EEeeeeeeeeeeee!!!
ZOMG can't wait to hear all about it!

Er, ahem...

This is wonderful news, Adoro. I'm keeping those prayers coming strong -- and I'm going to forward some beautiful words that Mother CM wrote to me a few days ago. So hopeful and comforting, and I hope they will be for you, too.

Blessings!

Kristen said...

OH! Me! Me! I take dibs on #3. I love the airport and we would be so happy to give you a ride! Email me with details and one of us will see to it that
yer' leavin' on a jet plane!
~Kris and André

Warren said...

Hey you messed up the bleg link:

It should be:

http://www.frleo.org/adoro/


The http: and the .org instead of .com are important!

Warren

Hidden One said...

pecuniam non habeo; sed orare possum ergo oro et oram.

Owen said...

Please pray for our eldest daughter who is seriously considering postulancy. Please pray for us, her parents. As far as finances go, we are also in the "we need a miracle" camp as well.

Hope the very best for you Adoro, really do.

catholicconvert said...

I'm afraid i can't offer financial help without getting further in debt myself, but you have my prayers that the Lord's will be done. God Bless you!

Tara said...

Ooooo...it's getting closer--very exciting--remember it's still discernment--but, spending the rest of your life devoted to our Lord in spiritual study and prayer--ahhh, lovely thought.

Adoro said...

Anon ~ Thank you!

Craig ~ Thank you for the encouragement, and I will definitely keep you in my prayers!

Spark ~ lol, I may be trying but I'm definitely not a Saint!

QM ~ thanks for your ongoing prayers and yes, I'll absolutely tell you all about it!

Kristen ~ email coming your way, and thanks! (I'm esp. going to want to know why you love the airport! lol)

Warren ~ thanks, link fixed! :-)

Hidden One ~ I have no idea what that means, although I'm sure it's wonderful.

Owen ~ That's wonderful news and prayers, absolutely!

catholicconvert ~ Prayers are the best, and thank you!

Tara ~ It's happening really really fast!

youknow who said...

watch your snail mail.