On Life Without Boys, Make-up, or Jeans…



I took a day trip from Boston to Rhode Island today to visit a good friend of mine who, at age 25, is a consecrated Catholic sister. For those of you not familiar with the whole Catholic nun-like lifestyle, that means she is, for all intense and purposes, a nun but doesn’t have to wear the whole get-up or belong to a cloistered order.

It was incredibly surreal to me to hang out in the convent with 100 or so other young girls training to do the same thing. What would it be like to take a vow of chastity, poverty, charity, etc? Her life is not her own in many ways. She goes where they place her (generally for two years at a time), she has only 7 outfits (none of which include a pair of jeans), no make-up, no possessions of any kind, she rarely sees her family or friends, and she spends all day everyday with just females. The idea is so counter cultural…  

...and yet there is something kind of intriguing about it all.   

Don’t get me wrong, I am not ready to trade in boys, make-up, or my earthly possessions, but I think there is something to be said for a passion that is greater than everything the world is offering. A passion so strong it causes you to leave behind everything that makes you comfortable.  I don’t doubt that my friend has days where she wonders why she has given up so much. I also don’t doubt that she is very happy. Part of me longs for such conviction and such passion (about anything, really); part of me sees that although she has sacrificed much, she has gained much – she is wise and peaceful and focused, and all the things I still am not.   

I have a sinking suspicion that when we give up the things that mean the most to us for the sake of Love, we gain something that cannot be measured by any outsider. Aye, there’s the rub! To receive we have to first give; but the giving-up part is never easy as we hold so tightly to the things that were never really ours in the first place. I think that most of us go through life never experiencing the blessing that comes along with self sacrifice. We’re scared of what we will have to give up in order to become passionate people and so we settle for mediocrity instead–never fully experiencing privation but never fully experiencing abundance either.  

So I’m left pondering all of this. I resist the idea that someone could be so happy voluntarily living without all of the things I deem so incredibly important–marriage, kids, a home, a job, etc. I know my stubborn resistance is my own fear that perhaps I (and most of the Western world) have it all wrong: that happiness is found not in getting exactly what you want, but rather is found when you get nothing of what you thought you wanted at all. 


1 Response to “On Life Without Boys, Make-up, or Jeans…”

  1. 1 sweetlybroken May 8, 2007 at 10:16 pm

    Hellloooo Shelley, it is GREAT to have you here @wordpress. Great blog, I actually considered being a nun, then I met a boy……:)
    Sorry about Marden, you blessed him with love and he was a better fish because of it.
    Keep posting girl, I’ll keep reading.

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Good Advice

"Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things"

Currently reading…

"'Tis" by Frank McCourt


May 2007
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