Sunday, January 19, 2014

Convent livin': three months and I'm still here

The moment came one Sunday night after watching Downton Abbey. 
"Sister, stop while you're ahead."
"I'm sorry, I'm drinking the whole thing. It's too good!"

We were talking about black tea.

This is a typical scene from my life at the convent. It might seem boring but it has been anything but boring. 

My world has been turned upside down. My ass has been kicked. I have been proved that I may not know everything...or anything. Mostly anything. 
In the past three months conversations like this has transpired more times than I would like to admit:

Do you know where so and so is?
Me: no.
Have you met so and so?
Me: no.
Do you know how to do this or that?
Me: no.

I've been so frustrated by the not knowing that I could actually cry. 

Of course there is a grace to not knowing; to have had to rely on others to help me navigate everyday life. I have clung to my nuns, GPS and God like I've never done before. 
I have wrestled with more doubt about my life choice than I ever have. But as the vocation director said: it's not your until you struggle with it. 
So I guess it's firmly mine now.

Although this winter has been rough. (Rough doesn't ever cover it!) I have laughed more than I ever have, discovered who I am more deeply, and learned to talk with God more than ever.

I think that's what God wanted all along.



Thursday, December 12, 2013

Convent livin'

J.M.J.A.T.K.G

The day finally came when I packed up all of my things in my car and drove to Michigan. I thought about what that day would look like...

It was be sunny, the birds would be singing and I would be fully confident in my life choice.

In reality...

Not so much..

It was 4am, dark as sin, and 9 degrees out. And I was not so confident I had made the right choice.
Instead of praying to God like this:

Oh God, thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity! I am so blessed to be your humble child. May you guide me to always do your will.

In reality...

God please let my car not start. I'm not confident my life choices. Are you sure you weren't drunk when you had this plan in mind? I'm not sure of my own sobriety right now.

As I've spent the last two days unpacking and getting to know my sister-roommates a bit more, I've slowly started to calm down. As I was unpacking I listened to a history of Religious Life in the United States and really related to the sisters who set sail to the 'new world'. They left everything they ever knew to help the people of God. I thought about how scared yet excited they must have been to set out on this new adventure. And they did it together, hand in hand.
Although everything is brand new, I have yet to feel alone. I feel my future sisters presence with me as I unpack and take the next step to become one of them.
So. These next few months are going to be very busy. However, with my sisters and enough beer, I will be just fine.
 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Awkward Updates

J.M.J.A.T.K.G

Okay. Someone shared my blog on facebook and now I feel compelled to give an update.

So. Updates.

I'm in the application process with 'my nuns'. You would think that this would provide a plethora of awkward situations to write about but...

Nope.

Now, that doesn't mean I haven't had my fair share of freakouts. One night, while having a few beers with friends I convinced myself (very loudly) that I was not going to pass the psych exam.
One of friends, being a candidate with my nuns, describe many of the tests I would go through.

It still took them an hour to calm me down.

A part of the application is to answer a few reflections questions. The vocation Director said that this would be a great opportunity to learn about myself. I thought this part would be the biggest pain in the butt to finish but this is actually my favorite part. The Vocation Director was right, I'm learning a lot about myself. (Please don't tell her I said that.)

A pro-tip for any of you nun-to-be's: go to Panera, pop in the headphones and listen to Amy Grant radio on Pandora. There is no way the Holy Spirit will be absent for that.

Being in the application stage is a big step in the discernment process. But there's still a lot more discerning and praying to do. Really, we don't ever stop discerning. Ever.

Another update: I got a BIG GIRL JOB and will be MOVING INTO A CONVENT. The great thing about this convent is that I've stayed there when I came for visits. The nuns are great and easy to be around. I know I'll fit in really well.

And they're Downton Abbey fans.

As for the Big Girl Job...I will be working for and with a few of my nuns.

I will be surrounded by nuns 24/7.

That's it for the updates. I will *try* to post here a least once a month. For smaller, snarkier musing check out my tumblr page and follow me on twitter.
There's a possibility that I'm addicted to social media.
 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Nunnabe Diaries: Drinking a Beer with God

J.M.J.A.T.K.G

I am/was in a rough spot. Not only was I grieving over the lost of my grandma but trying to discern where God was calling me. I had run myself into the ground. There was so many things that needed to get done but no energy to do it. I thought 'hey, I'm young! I should have enough energy to do all these things!'.  Of course, I was wrong. It wasn't so much the physical tasks but the spiritual tasks that did me in.
There are decisions that needed to be made; decisions I thought were already made. It could be my impatience on this matter but it made me doubt God's timing. So thinking and over thinking began. I knew it was driving me mad but I needed to know what my future held. I pushed through hoping I would get my answer.

I realized I was slowly killing myself in the process.

This isn't the first time I've gotten myself in this situation. Far from it. When discerning God's call we often get ourselves in these binds. Sister Sandra Schneider calls them 'analysis paralysis'. It's when we start analyzing a decision so much we become too afraid to make that decision. Or there are so many decisions to make we simply stop. We think and we think going no where.
What do we do when we get ourselves in these situations? The first step is to recognize when we reached 'analysis paralysis'. The second is to stop the cycle. The third is to make the decision. (Of course there are many smaller steps in between, but those are the main steps.) I want to focus on the second step: stopping the cycle.
What do I do to stop the cycle? I simply stop thinking. Now, before you say 'that's impossible!' let me tell you want I did tonight.

I turned off my phone, popped in Despicable Me' and drank a couple of beers.

It worked. As soon as I opened that first beer and watched the movie my chest started to loosen up. I didn't think about nuns, decisions, life, ANYTHING except for how cute the minions looked.
I didn't ask God what He wanted from me. I simply invited Him over for a movie, popcorn and beer.
(I like to think that God drinks Bud Light Lime.)
It was a nice night and will continue to be nice night.

To my fellow discerners, when stuck in 'analysis paralysis' simply stop, drop and roll. Stop the thinking, drop what you're doing and roll with God.

Now back to my movie and beer night with God.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Airport

A few weeks ago a friend and I arrived back at the Miami airport after a week of service in Costa Rica. (More on that week later) We were tired and a little worried that we wouldn't make our flight to St. Louis which was two short hours from the time we landed.
Once the plane landed we sped off to customs, trying to pass as many people as possible. This was no easy task as they had the same idea we did. It was speed walking foot race down a long hallway to...a huge line of people. Having never been to Miami airport or their Customs department more panic started to rise.
One staff member was trying to direct hundreds of tired, impatient travels. I thought maybe Customs was just around the corner but I had no idea how long we would have to wait in the hallway. A few of the travelers were saying they had waited an hour and a half. We would never make our flight.
More panic started to rise.
After less than ten minutes they let us turn the corner...to another huge line. With Customs no where in sight, people really started to push and shove. I had raced ahead of my friend because I had the checked bag in my name with our coffee and honey. The line looked long but it moved fast but we still were not told how long before we got to Customs. While waiting in line I looked up later flights for St. Louis.
As it turns out Customs wasn't that far away and the lines moved very quickly. In fact, from the time we landed to the time we arrived at our gate only an hour and thirty minutes passed. We had thirty minutes to spare.
Once on the plane, I reflected on the past two hours. I thought about how scared we were that we would miss our flight. I thought about how spending a week of absolutely no rushing being forced to into the craziness that is the US Customs. I thought about the rush of excitement as we raced through the airport. I thought about if the staff just told us how long we had to wait we wouldn't have been so scared.
I thought about how this is the same in the spiritual life as well. I don't know about you, but God has never told me how long I have to wait for the things I want or the things He's calling me to. We often get angry when we don't have all the answers. It comes from feeling panicked, which comes from not being in control. But maybe it's a good thing we don't know what's coming We can get complacent. I know I can. Not knowing is apart of the adventure. It was exciting to race through the airport- we felt like we were on the Amazing Race.
God is calling us to be open to the adventure. He is calling us to trust in Him; to stay focused on the task at hand. Sometimes on the adventure we're called to relax one minute and jump into a crazy stressful situation the next. We never know what's going to happen, but that's just apart of the adventure. We need to know that God will take care of us.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Nunnabe Dairies: At war with myself



Oh, it's World War Three in my head. The first causality was my sanity but I think we all knew that was hanging by a thread.
Decision making is easy, it's the aftermath that's tricky. That's when you have to live in to that decision. You also have time to think about that decision. That's when wars start.
I've always thought that I make the best decisions when I'm caught off guard- but I'm doubting that. Yes, I made a decision off guard and not having a lot of coffee. It was a decision that most think long and hard over. However, I feel good about the decision- almost lighter. I find myself being more focused and organized than ever. It wasn't as if I was never going to make that decision- this was just much sooner than I expected. Actually, it was sooner than anyone expected.
Maybe some of the best decisions we make are the ones we don't expect to make. We just jump in feet first.
Or maybe there is a reason some think long and hard about the decision I made. Yep, my head is spinning.
Yes, it wouldn't be discernment if I didn't doubt everything but my last name.
With any vocation crisis I will take two Aspirin and call the vocation director in the morning.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Nunnabe Chronicles: The Pizza Party that went horribly wrong

J.M.J.A.T.K.G

So I've taken up reporting a few stories here and there. This faux-story is based on actual events.


Sister Alice stares absent-minded out the window as she tries to recall 'that night'.
"It was supposed to be a little gathering of our discerners and a few sisters," she sighed. According to her, four young women came over to her convent to have pizza and meet a few of the nuns. Earlier that day one of the discerners asked her if it was okay she brought over her ten-month old nephew.
"'What's the harm?' I thought. Surely nothing could go wrong." Sister Alice took a framed picture of Jesus that was sitting on her desk and shoved it in her desk drawer.
"Oh was I wrong."
According to Sister Alice, there was trouble as soon as the baby and the discerner entered the room. Two of the other discerners raced toward the baby and begged to hold him first. Soon they started to argue. It then got ugly.
"One of the sisters was a negotiator for the United Nations for thirty years. Even she couldn't get those two to stop fighting. The baby had to be taken to another room to avoid being hurt!" Sister Alice exclaimed.
Suddenly, in the middle of the discerner fight the fourth discerner ran out of the room screaming 'BABIES! BABIES EVERYWHERE! GOD WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?! IS THIS A SIGN?!'
"We haven't seen or heard from her since."
Sister Alice said that eventually the two fighting discerners calmed down and apologized for fighting. They even cleaned up the broken bottles.
"Discerners believe that if you're discerning Religious Life God will lead you on a straight path to the convent- but that's not what it's about- it's about being open to the adventure. Take the baby fiasco-  sometimes God wants you to see your caretaker side. Sometimes God wants to show you what you're missing. But most of the time, a baby at an event is a baby at an event and nothing more. It's all about how you feel and you need to be calm and silent to hear that still, small voice."
After a long pause Sister Alice starts up again:
"Of course, discerners do that wrong too. They go to think about how to they feel yet they don't also pray about it. They gotta let God in! They also have to have a good spiritual advisor that will be help discerns God's call."
At that, Sister Alice pulled the picture of Jesus out of her desk and said, "May God bless the Vocation Director."