Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Looking Out for Number One

So, becoming a nun is counter-cultural.

Huh. I never would have thought. (Sarcasm drips...)

I've just been visiting some people, and while I had realized how different my mindset is becoming, it was really brought home to me this visit.

I'm a pretty quiet person, and so often I listen more than I speak. Which seems to mean that sometimes I hear lots more than I care to. This weekend, it was stories about sex (not my favorite topic), and a little bit about how "I used to be Catholic, but..." which usually ends in the sex abuse scandal.

And then there is the whole attitude about money and self-promotion. Here's a sample of one conversation:

A friend: So, what do you do about money?
Me: Well, the order takes care of my needs and my salary goes to them.
Friend: So, how does that work, exactly?
Me: I don't really know yet. It's not all that important to me.
Friend: I guess you never really have been focused on getting money.

And also about careers:
Friend: What if they ask you to do something that you don't want to do?
Me: Well, I'm not sure of all the details, but I know that we discuss those sorts of things together.
Friend: So, you can tell them what you want.
Me: Yes and no. It's a conversation, like if you were married, you wouldn't make big career decisions without consulting your spouse. I let them know what I think God is calling me to do, and we discuss the issue. If they need me to serve in a particular way, then I will take on that ministry.

I got the feeling from that conversation that my friend never really understood that I'm not "looking out for number one" anymore, but that my life will be in service to others. {As I write, perhaps it's that I'm looking out for number One? Doing what the Divine One needs?)

It makes me sad for two reasons: that the people I love don't really understand what I'm doing, and that so many people in the world are attached to sex, money, and self-promotion. I want to just shout--does this really make you happy? If it does, then why is it never enough???

But I'm trying to simply patiently explain what happens, and to hope that it starts to make sense to those I care about.


Susan Rose, CSJP said...

If it makes you feel any better - I've had those conversations.

And if it makes you feel any better - my family and friends, little by little, are starting to get it.

The key I think is to share bit by bit about your life. They see you're still you - in fact you're a better you - and it all starts to come together. But it takes time and intention.

Blessings on your journey! And thanks for blogging it!

Sophie's Daughter said...

Thanks, Susan. It is good to hear that it starts to get easier. I'm pretty lucky in that my close friends and the people I work with do get it...

Family is starting to understand. And I think they do see that I am the same person. It's almost like this vocation has always been a part of me anyway, so it's not too much of a change. :)

Thanks for your comments and encouragement! It's exciting for me to see the progress of your journey!

Christine said...

I agree with Susan... it does get better and easier. Sure there will always be people who don't understand, but those are mostly strangers down the road. Family and friends begin to get comfortable and get better at listening to your answers to their questions.

Peace and prayers as you continue the journey.