Tuesday, March 10, 2009

First Reactions

Today I was thinking about the reaction I received when I told others I was looking into religious life. It was very hard for me because I wasn't truly comfortable with the idea myself.

One day in college I had made up my mind that I was going to tell my mom that day. Well, wouldn't you know, I called her around 11:59 pm. When my mom answered, I said, all in one breath, "Mom, I'm thinking about becoming a CA (community advisor) and I have a job interview on Wednesday and I'm looking into religious life and I meet with this woman on Friday." My mom's response was, "Oh, Catherine, you don't want to do that, do you?" I said, "Well, I just want to look into it." I didn't think my mom was too keen on the idea, so I let it drop.

A few weeks later, I was talking to my mom on the phone.
"Oh, Catherine, I was talking to Fr. Dave, and he said you were looking into religious life." She was so excited.
"Mom, I told you that a few weeks ago. Remember? I told you I was looking into the CA job and also looking into religious life."
"I only heard about the job. I didn't want you to do that because it's so much work. I must have been switching ears when you told me about religious life."

What a relief. I thought she was against it, but she was all for it.

It was hard for me to tell people, even my parents, which is why I waited until 11:59 pm. But I had to do it sometime. I could no longer keep putting it off. I can spend lots of energy worrying and putting off the inevitable. However, what I worry about oftentimes doesn't become the reality. Only with God's help, can I face my fears. The actual reality once I faced my fears and did what I needed to do was a lot different than the reality I had created in my head. What a relief. I had a lot of anxiety and worry that really could have been avoided.

I soon told other friends and family members. Some were supportive. Some were not. Some questioned. Some thought I was crazy. Some thought maybe something was wrong and I was joining to escape. I knew in my heart, however, that what I was doing was right. I was following God's will.

Looking into religious life isn't easy. Joining a religious community isn't easy. My advice is to find people you can talk to about it. Any big change involves some degree of fear and uncertainty. That's normal. When you can work through that and reach the other side, there is peace and inner happiness.

So, call up someone you trust. Just don't wait until 11:59 pm. They may be half asleep or switching ears.

1 comment:

  1. Sister Catherine,
    What a beautiful story! When I first told my Mom I was looking into religious life, she wasn't that keen on the idea. I still think she is getting used to it. I haven't entered anywhere yet, I am actually in the application process right now. Thank you so much for sharing that story. I hope to continue participating in this blog. Take care and God bless.
    Alexandra Larsen