Hey everyone! So after two weeks of intense summer CCD, things at the office finally look like they’ll be calming down for the remainder of the summer. These past two weeks have been fantastic, but it’ll be nice to go to OLMC (Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, where I work) tomorrow and actually be able to breathe easy and spend the entire day (or at least the vast majority of it) in my office. Don’t get me wrong- I loved the summer program, and it’s been so wonderful to work with the kids, but since the two weeks of the summer program were also my first two weeks of worse, it’s pretty much been run, run, run since I first walked in. In the midst of planning and teaching catechism classes, giving tours of the church, reorganizing the resource room, starting up a blog for CCD resources for catechists and parents, and refilling iced tea and lemonade pitchers, I have yet to learn how to work the phone or my email, or I don’t even know what’s in most of the files in the drawers beneath my desk. Yeah, it was that busy. Let’s just leave it at this: I was so busy that it wasn’t until my second day that I learned that I had a full bathroom attached to my office (thanks Tom for that little tidbit of information, if you happen to read this). So that being said, it’ll be nice to slow down some.
Of course, in between tours and classes and whatnot, I’ve also had the opportunity to attend daily Mass at the parish, and to spend at least a few minutes a day before Jesus (OLMC has a perpetual adoration chapel- WHAT?!), which have really provided the peace that has allowed me to survive the intensity of these first two weeks of work. There is one thing in particular that I’ve spent a bit of time reflecting on that I’d like to share with you. I’ll come right out and admit that it might not seem like much to some people, and really, it’s probably not the best example of the power of divine providence, but since this blog is dedicated to finding joy in the little things, I think it’s worth telling.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, “The Beauty of Friendship,” one of the most significant challenges that I faced upon returning home was rekindling friendships that had changed as a result of my being in the convent. During the eight months that I spent as an aspirant with the Salesian Sisters, my friends and I needed to adjust to the fact that I was no longer a constant presence in their lives. I was no longer able to just get up and meet them for coffee at a moment’s notice, and there were no longer any late night movies or trips to Applebee’s. Though we never stopped being friends, our paths had split in two very different directions. Though we constantly messaged one another, I had my life in the convent and they had theirs outside of it. Though they worked tirelessly to keep me “in the loop,” we had come to terms with the fact that I would generally not be available as I once had been. We had all gotten used to the fact that things would be done without me, and so when my friend’s mom announced that she was getting remarried, it was assumed that I wouldn’t be available to go to the wedding. But then I left, and suddenly I was thrust back into the world, and back into my friends’ lives.
Though we’ve gone to great lengths to make that transition as smooth as possible, there have been a few things that have been a challenge. Remaining at home while most of my friends attended my friend’s mom’s wedding was one of them. At first, I found it devastating- I hate feeling left out, whether it’s intentional or not. Even though I knew that there was nothing that could be done so late in the game, it was still hard to accept the fact that while most of my friends would be together celebrating, I would be at home alone. I did my best to not let it get to me, but I’d be lying if I told you that I was entirely successful. In moments of weakness, I was tempted to think that it was just too late to re-establish those friendships, and that people would never fully adjust to the fact that I had returned home. During moments of total lucidity, I knew that I was being ridiculous and incredibly irrational, but unfortunately I am not always totally logical, especially where loneliness is concerned. No one wants to be lonely, and in moments of weakness, there is always the temptation to think that it will last forever. On a certain level of consciousness, I recognized how much love I have in my life, but sometimes, communication between my heart and my head isn’t at its best, and on one particular night a week or so ago, that was the situation in which I found myself. I was feeling particularly lonely and was moping about the fact that I would not be sharing this one particular occasion with my friends, and then the slightest bit of light shone through the darkness: I found out that my dad had gotten us tickets to see Taylor Swift in concert for the same weekend of the wedding.
I know, it’s a little ridiculous to liken this to more profound moments of divine providence, but in that moment, it was exactly what I needed to pull me out of my state of dejection. Suddenly, it seemed as if there was a reason that I wasn’t able to go to that wedding. I was supposed to go to the Taylor Swift concert with my family (yes, I’m a huge Taylor Swift fan). Sure, it might sound ridiculous to say that I wasn’t supposed to go to the wedding because God had plans for me to go to the concert, but to a certain extent, that’s what happened. I wasn’t supposed to go to the wedding. I was supposed to be at the concert. And not just because I was a Taylor Swift fan, or because God was rewarding me for patiently accepting this situation in my life that could not be changed. Last night, as I sang my heart out to every single song that Taylor Swift sang, I was not doing it alone. I was sharing this experience with my family, and particularly with my nieces, with whom I have always wanted to have a stronger relationship. I knew that they had missed me while I was away in the convent, but it did not become clear to me just how much they loved having me as a physical presence in their lives until last night at the concert. There are most certainly people who have been called to love their family from afar, but there are also those who are called to love their family while standing beside them and sharing experiences together, which, at least in my case, meant screaming “Never” at the top of my lungs with my beloved nieces. God is good, and there is a reason for everything that happens to us. Even if we don’t understand why things don’t always go the way we want, there is always a reason that things happen as they do. I wasn’t supposed to be at that wedding this weekend. I was supposed to be at the Taylor Swift concert. I wasn’t supposed to be with my friends, as much as I would have liked to have shard that experience with them. I was supposed to be with my family; I was supposed to be with my nieces, showing them how much I love them. As I learned last night, in the end, I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
Mary Help of Christians, pray for us!