Friday, June 12, 2009
The plot thickens!
This morning I received an email from a Sister in another religious community, inviting me to visit them since I'll be so close to them in July. I immediately accepted her invitation and have been working to find plane tickets that will incorporate both communities. In this process, I also discovered that you can acutally plan for a multi-destination trip, and because the cost doesn't differ from the range of the round-trip to Hartford, CT and back, well...I'm adding in a stop!
So it seems, at this point, I'll be flying out to Connecticut to vist one community, which happens to be active/contemplative. From there I'll be taking an Amtrak through New York into New Jersey, where the Sisters of the second community will pick me up. The second is a cloistered community with whom I've had some contact, and I'm incredibly grateful for the invite! And, as you all know my affinity for the Dominican charism.... ;-)
From there I'll fly into Cleveland (as long as the prices allow) to visit friends, and then return home. This could be a 14-21 day trip, approximately, and I'm greatly looking forward to it. In fact, it's going to be quite an adventure as I've never been to the East Coast, I don't know anyone there at all, I've never been on a train, and what I thought was going to be a simple trip has instead turned into a multi-state affair!
Not So Hidden Anymore
This afternoon I met with my spiritual director, who was aware of most of these developments, so of course we had a great deal to discuss. He is very supportive of this visit, and is of course well aware of my financial situation. We both agree that going on this trip is the right thing to do, no matter how insane it seems. The time is there, even if the money isn't. Yet, we all know that everything belongs to God, and it could very well be that the money will appear.
It's with this huge leap of trust that I'm dedicating my 6 weeks of summer to vocational discernment. It ALL belongs to God (but for my 10 hours per week...oh, wait, I work in the Church, that's God's too!).
OK, yes, granted, there seems to be some time for a friendly vacation, but even that will be in the company of some of the finest Catholics I have ever met!
As I mentioned before, I have spoken with my brother, so he is aware of the reason for my trip out East. This evening, with shaking hands, I called my Mom and delivered the news to her as well.
The conversation went fine. She remembered a few years ago that I'd brought this up, but didn't realize it was still on my mind as I haven't spoken of it for so long. She didn't fully understand (and still doesn't) why I have to go so far away. I pointed out that it has to do with God's will, not mine. She came back with the idea that it has to be my will, to.
She's right. And it is also my will that I go. That was harder to explain to her; she seemed to be taking that as a personal affront that I would want to go so far away.
It's not possible to explain to her how often I pray that God's will be my own, and that, if I'm agreeing with God, it is not an act against her, but an act in union with Our Lord, for the benefit of all souls, even if I can't really grasp this idea myself.
It's hard to realize that our actions, our fiat to God's wil,l actually does affect the world, especially when we are speaking in terms of souls and eternal life. Vocations are very serious business; it is proper that we suffer for them.
Maybe what was most shocking for Mom was that I am considering several cloistered communities. I explained that it's not because I think that's where I'm really called. Only that God has gotten my attention, directed me to a few specific places, and I'll be visiting one of them in July. The other is active, or in my Mom's words, "In the world."
She asked if she could tell others. I didn't give an answer, asked only how she thought others would take this news?
I impressed upon her that this isn't a "career" move. This is something very very serious that has been a part of my life for years now, and I'm not going on this trip out of idle curiosity. She agreed and understood that. What concerns me is the way she wants to explain it to people: "My daughter wants to go into the convent."
Only God knows what some would think! On one hand it sounds menial or even frivolous. On the other hand, it brings to mind images of St. Faustina knocking on ancient European convent doors until she was finally admitted.
Knowing my history, knowing my extended family, they would hear her statement as nothing other than, "She wants to be a firefighter" or "She wants to work with people."
Maybe the best I can hope for is that they DO pass it off as nothing major, just another "thing", but no doubt Mom will mention the financial situation. No doubt I'll get calls from my financial-minded uncles asking if I've lost my mind and why I'm going on a trip when I need to be finding work in order to make money to pay for my mortgage. Because of course, the mortgage is a contract.
I'd normally agree. I know that what I'm doing makes no earthly sense. I know that choosing a life of celibacy and prayer is a complete shocker to a world that advocates and tries to enforce hedonism and as much sex as possible with as many people as possible.
Maybe in some ways, this is the rebel in me surfacing again, but this time, for the good!
In any case, finally, Mom knows, my brother knows, and no doubt my family will know soon. I did emphasize that I'm going to FIND OUT if this is the life to which God has called me. Mom thinks it might be. She is only unhappy because it is so far away.
In fact, she's downright neutral about the whole thing. And that...that's good.
I'm just praying as I always have...that God's will be done, in spite of everything I do to screw it up.