That’s all I could think about once I turned 21 … that I am more than halfway to forty!
The summer of twenty fun has been the one where it’s finally fully hitting me … life is really officially taking off! And so Friday afternoons I leave the first office building I’ve ever worked in, proudly carrying out my super professional-looking tote since I finally have a grown-up place to bring it, and head 10 minutes through the working-for-the-weekend traffic in the opposite direction of home for the last 30 minutes of Adoration at my parish.
Date time with Jesus is always where I love to make my best efforts to prayerfully wrap my head around that bombshell, among thousands of other things … He’s the best guy to wade through the waters of waiting with for the someone who I have no idea who they’ll be to ask me on the date that I know will be the moment when I know (you know?!).
And just when I’m finally finding the thought of having a child of my own more fulfilling and empowering than scary and strange and utterly risky and all brand new, and just when I’m sensing my heart moving towards the career goal of being the best mother I could possibly and imperfectly be … other (not so) little callings coyly creep in.
But seriously guys, if I hear one more time this summer that I’d make a good nun, I don’t know what I’ll do!
Today, it even happened as I was literally walking out the chapel doors! A woman who was the mom of someone I hadn’t seen since fourth grade homeroom squinted at me through the dim light, mistaking me for one of the young faith-filled women who just entered into the convent. She immediately associated me with her; we tried to do that thing where you catch each other up on the past 10 years through three questions and only ten minutes of conversation, and she kept gushing about how great of a nun I’d make.
Which I honestly need to realize is a compliment! But it was all I could do to get out of that church as graciously and cool-under-pressure as possible.
So to brush what the woman was saying off, I told her exactly what she wanted to hear, trying to sound as excited and interested as possible: that’d I’d definitely keep what she was saying in mind!
She couldn’t have been happier upon hearing that, and as I departed my heart twinged with the knowledge that I was not being authentic or 100% honest; rather, I really just said what I knew she wanted to hear so I could escape the truth that’s been nagging at the back of my mind … the truth that I at least owe religious life an honest exploration.
I couldn’t have been happier to be back in the safe haven that was car. Usually Adoration was the safe haven, but it was the first time in a while I’d left Adoration feeling stressed and confused rather than refreshed and enlightened. I even had a mini panic attack, the words I blubbered back up to the Heavens from the front seat a sad but natural attempt at a bargain:
“Lord, I swear I’m working to open up my heart to your plans. But it just can’t be that. Not the religious life.”
Sufficiently unsettled, I started to make my way back home. Bored and distracted while making my way back through the bottleneck, I switched back and forth between two oldie radio stations. One moment, Livin’ On A Prayer was playing and Bon Jovi was belting, the next it was Queen’s absolute jam, Somebody to Love (all to relevant in this year of twenty fun).
It was a total “soundtrack of this current moment of my life” kind of moment, and the hilarity and relevancy of it all prompted me to jab a quip back up to God in total defense/sassy daughter mode:
“Well, God, which one is it going to be? Am I going to be living on a prayer? Or are you sending me somebody to love?”
He hit me with his best shot right back: “Sweets, you know how a minute ago, you weren’t as authentic or honest as you could have been? Why don’t you make up for it by putting the same effort into exploring the awesomeness of vocations as willingly and longingly you want to explore the awesomeness of a significant other?”
And the tiny grace I got from that time in prayer and that I really had to search for was found in the front, staring back at me as in-the-face as the speedometer was.
Chances are, if I were in a relationship right now, my boyf would probably be a little concerned if I was going on a vocation retreat at the same time. As I Google searched different orders and branches of sisterhood, he’d probably be Googling “what the heck did I do wrong?!” And just as in any relationship, God is being extremely vague in what exactly He wants and making it hard for me to get on his wavelength.
But just like how it would be in any relationship, He wants me to put in the effort. Because now is the perfect moment I may never get again. And though I’m sure He’s set my heart and my sights on a certain future for a certain reason, though I’m sure that God wouldn’t be so cruel as to move my heart to where both He and I truly want to go only to swerve off on the completely opposite exit, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t take the venture … right? (Oh man ….)
So here’s to the journey to forty! Really … who knows where it will take me?!