Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Still moving along...

Things are a little less confusing to me than they were a week ago, thankfully. After much prayer and some conversation with friends, I think I can let go some of my worries and just try to be! And now, of course, it is almost Christmas, a time of being with relatives and friends that I rarely see. So the emotional issues are transferred to that stress instead!

Actually, I'm hoping Christmas will be a little less stressful this year than in years past. I am already away from home, at my mother's house on the west coast until the end of the month. What's less stress this year? My brother and his wife are coming! Yay! We have had Christmas apart for the last two years, so I think we are all looking forward to spending the time together.

I am so thankful for so many things this year--a year of new job and city, new levels of discernment, new friends and support. I am at peace, and it feels so good to say that and really mean it.

Merry Christmas to everyone! (even though it's still advent)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Retreat and Return

This past weekend I attended a lovely retreat for discerning women. I say "lovely" but that doesn't necessarily mean peaceful... in fact, a number of things came up that left me confused. But confusion can be good. As my spiritual director says, confusion can lead to progress.

Two parts of that confusion had to do with religious life: the issues of obedience and living in community. When I began looking at religious orders, community living was one of the characteristics that attracted me. I don't want to join a religious order only to go on living alone in an apartment. I crave community living, although I also love living alone. What came out of the retreat was one of the sister's concern that I am too idealistic about community living.

I was actually pretty shocked by this, and also confused. I live alone, and have for several years, but I don't think I am quite that idealistic. Definitely a little, but that is in part because I have not lived with others recently, and I desire community life for its positive aspects, like shared meals, prayers, and accountability. (I say accountability because I am much more likely to wash my dishes in a timely fashion if I know others will be using the kitchen!) I want those things, and I fully expect that they come at the price of some conflict--dealing with different personalities and personal needs, asserting my need for personal space, and resolving disagreements in a healthy way (among other things, I am sure). I know those things are not easy. I also know that I will not fully understand the depth of their difficulty until I experience them in community living. I am an academic, and I love to answer questions and doubts through reading, but this is one area where reading cannot help much.

Another thing I have been thinking about is obedience in discernment. I don't really understand obedience as doing everything someone else tells me to do, but rather more like working together with someone who recognizes my gifts and helps me to achieve more than I can imagine on my own. I have decided that I want to seek admission to the rscj, but I know that this decision is not the end of the story. The society has to discern with me that this is a good idea.... to me, that is obedience. Handing over that decision so that someone else might work with it and I might continue with the process. Discernment works both ways--on behalf of myself and the part of the order about my fit as well. To work in this way involves a different mentality, a counter-cultural outlook. When someone is trying to advance in a career, they seek to become more successful, they promote themselves. This mutual discernment is distinctly different from self-promotion.

I guess I recognize that my life is not in my hands. (Not that it ever has been, but now I am acknowledging it wholeheartedly.) I have placed that decision in the hands of Jesus and of the society, and now we can all discern together. And while I am somewhat confused about some things, I am at peace with relinquishing control.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Busy at the end of the Semester...

It never fails--the end of the semester always has me scatter-brained and running from one thing to the next. But, at last, I will take a few minutes to blog.

Life is generally going well, though I had a fight with Verizon this week--I am finally getting high speed internet at home, but only in a very frustrating series of events. I really hope that I never have any problems with it. Who knows whether I would ever be able to get anything fixed. Since moving to my new home in the Southwest, I have had a number of issues with utilities billing and such that are frustrating, but fortunately getting resolved.

This weekend is a retreat, a "women's retreat" by my favorite nuns. I am really looking forward to it, and to the time that I have away from so many work responsibilities. I have had some life-changing prayer experiences lately, and I hope that they will start to make more sense. (More about that in a later blog, I'm sure.) I'm also looking forward to being in my former hometown, and seeing some of my friends. I think I basically have every second of time taken up with friends! It will be very lovely.

More to come.

Blessings to all!