These last few weeks have shown me that I have more in common Jonah than I ever believed.
My time volunteering with a religious order in Chicago this last summer showed me that I needed to revisit the possibility of having a religious vocation. I started to work hard at the vocation process--prayer, listening to God, researching and contacting various orders, letting myself be open to wherever the process leads. Then, I began to get information back from various orders, and most of them were/are cloistered orders or no's because of my age and my food allergies. While the idea of being hidden in God appeals to me, the idea that this is where God might be calling me scares me. Aside from feeling not worthy of such a calling, I'm also worried about pursuing something that really isn't what God has for me in the first place.
Another issue is whether pursuing a religious vocation is a way for me to run away: from romantic relationships, from responsibility, from life. I don't really know that is the case, but it is always possible...how does one know??? I think at least part of this fear comes from having never really fallen in love with another human being, not even my ex. I sometimes wonder if I even have the capacity for the kind of love a woman should have for a spouse--I have more emotion toward my digdog than to other people most days. Most vocation stories talk about falling in love with Jesus. If I don't have that capacity for humans, how could I ever make the leap of doing so to God?
And, in the process of all this questioning, I've had a bit of a knee jerk reaction...Praying the liturgy of the hours fell by the wayside first. If I quit praying, I didn't have to worry about God confirming or denying where He wanted me. Then, I got sick this semester--colds really do suck, but don't necessarily require missing my hours of Adoration, even if they are in the middle of the night. I either skipped or got substitutes anyway. And then, I ended up missing Mass--which acted as a bit of a wake-up call to what was happening. I've gone to confession since then, but I'm at a loss of how to get beyond the fear I have. I don't really want God to send a whale to swallow me whole, but my fear (maybe stark raving terror is a better description) is still there. I don't know that I have enough courage to confront this head on.
I'm not sure that I really WANT to know where God wants me anymore, which really means that any discerning is at a standstill. I realize that my recent actions are much like a 4 year old shoving his/her fingers in her ears and yelling, "I'm not listening" repeatedly. It doesn't mean that my awareness of this behavior gives me an idea of how to get beyond the impulse. Just because I want to surrender to God's will doesn't mean that I know how to go about it. Neither do I want to continue my mini-tantrum.
Maybe I need that whale after all.