“Travelers cannot reach new territory if they do not take new and unknown roads and abandon the familiar ones.” St. John of the Cross +
This morning I woke up, “off.” You know, those mornings when you wake up and feel like, “…this is going to be a bad day?” It was kind of like that. But not the part about it being bad, only that something was off. I didn’t realize until about 2:00pm, that today marks my one year of leaving the monastic life. What a blessing to look at the past year! So much has changed in me. So much has happened. So many blessings!
I have been home, from India, for a little over three weeks. I am just settling into being home. Adjustment has been hard. Much harder than I had anticipated. I miss my friends. I miss the beautiful souls I was blessed to work with every day. I miss adventures in India. But I am happy to be home. I am enjoying family and friends. I am rejoicing in being able to go to my Byzantine Church again. I am happy to be looking ahead and trying to plan what my near future will look like.
Today, I was praying about all that has happened in the past year. When I discerned to leave Christ the Bridegroom Monastery, I didn’t really know what I was going to be doing. I just knew, deep within my heart, that our Lord was asking me to leave and discern marriage. So, I stepped out into the deep and the darkness and let Him lead me. Wow! What a journey it has become.
When I first left, I spent some time at my Granny’s. It is time I will forever cherish. I missed her and was happy to rebuild that relationship with her. Playing UNO for hours in a row and going through family history…it was something beautiful to share with her. Then I moved to Kelley’s Island, where I helped run a big bed and breakfast. Last summer was an experience for sure!
While living and working on the island, I had plenty of down time. I used it, sitting at the beach with my Icon and journal. I used it to talk with the Beloved. As I began to pray about what comes after summer, I felt a tug to India. India was a lifelong dream of mine. I had given it up, to pursue religious life, but was now feeling the Lord giving me one of my greatest desires. Through the grace of God and several benefactors, I applied and raised the money to head to India for four months!
While in India, I volunteered with some beautiful people. I met so many lifelong friends and had even more time in the desert (of the heart 😉 )to pray about God’s calling for me. I had left religious life to discern marriage…why did I then move to India? Marriage wasn’t going to happen there. It was just the time I needed to find myself and prepare my heart to be open to a relationship.
Now, I am home and entering into a normal, every day, lay woman’s life. I am working, buying a car and saving to move out on my own. This is who I am. I am a young, single Catholic, seeking to serve the Lord in all I do. Do I miss my sisters (in religious life)? Yes, every day! Do I miss monastic life? All the time. Do I regret leaving? Not once since I left. If anything, I am more at peace with my discernment the longer I am back, in the world.
I have learned so much about myself. I am more confident in my own skin. I am not ashamed of who I am or what I do. I love my kids that I nanny, I love my Church family and discerning what career I feel called to in the days ahead. My time at the monastery, only helped to prepare me for this life. I am sound in my ability to seek the Lord in prayer, to repeat the Jesus Prayer in times of joy and trial and to reflect on the death to self we should all be practicing (in religious life or lay life).
Thank you all for your support. Your love. The reminders of my worth. This past year has been easier because of you all. Knowing I have friends and family standing with me in my discernment has been a gift and joy. I cannot wait to see what He has planned for me. I look forward to this journey and keep you all close in heart and prayer along the way. God’s blessings, my friends! +