Sunday, January 23, 2011

New Life

Before I entered the monastery, I thought of all the things I was giving up, what I was leaving behind, what I would no longer have. What I didn't know before I entered was how much I would gain. It took losing what I had and entering the monastery before I could become aware of everything I would gain.

It reminds me of the raccoon that holds onto a piece of food or a tin can and gets its arm stuck in a trap. If the raccoon lets go, it will be able to free its arm. But it takes letting go of what it has to gain that freedom and ultimately save its life. If it keeps holding on, it's trapped.

"For whoever wants to save one's life will lose it, but whoever loses one's life for me will save it," (Luke 9:24).

I think of this as we look at moving my mom into an apartment where my brother and his family will be closer and take care of her. With my dad's recent death and Huntington's continually progressing, we don't want her living by herself. We're all giving up a lot to make this transition and are aware of what we're losing.

We're wanting to move her out of a 5-bedroom house into a 1-bedroom apartment. The majority of the possessions will eventually be sold. We're saying good-bye to our home of 30 years. We're saying good-bye to the life we know. We're acknowledging the fact that my mom cannot safely do what she's always done. The nurse who took care of the whole town is now the one who needs the care.

I feel like the raccoon wanting to hold on to what I see and know is real - my own desires and ways of doing things.

I feel like the person looking into religious life, only aware of what I'm giving up and leaving behind.

I'm not aware of what's out there or what we'll gain from all this loss, but with every death, there is new life. "I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit," (John 12:24).

With the grace of God, we'll be able to let go, aware of our losses, but also aware that new life awaits us.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this post. I really needed it. I had not really thought about religious life from what I will be gaining. I have been only thinking about what I will be losing. It puts things in a new perspective, but I am not sure that it makes the decision any easier.

    Susan Reuber