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Guys. September 6, 2007

It’s been a while since I’ve updated my search for vocation. Now, I’m quite at peace with marriage and children. I examined exactly why I might have been interested in becoming a nun, and I think maybe I was running away, or being obstinate. It was like a secret disobedience toward my dad. See, he didn’t know anything about my search (nor did my mom for that matter) but all I could think of was his reaction if he found out, about him not liking it or something.

Stupid, I know. Juvenile. I know it seems like I’m wavering back and forth, not knowing what I want. I think it was more of me not knowing what God wants. So, I took some steps in both directions. I signed up to be a lector…mandation is next Thurs. And I went to a FOCUS/CCM meeting last night, a special joint meeting, with the topic of “Dating Game”. It was really helpful, and the guest speaker was great; we all had fun, laughing hard. But he had great tips. I forgot some of it already, but I shared what I learned with my friend here:

On that same topic, I went to a meeting tonight, about the “Dating Game”. The speaker talked about faith-based dating, which was really cool. There’s four principles…I think I remember them all.

***

A, build a solid foundation.

B….We are daughters/sons of God. Girls can never get all the romance they want, and guys can’t get all the honor they want from relationships. But they both can help each other grow, like some romance, some honor. But only God can give us all we want; we place ourselves in God’s hands first and foremost, then honor our spouses.

C, Guys, be guys. Girls, let guys be guys. Basically, guys are little boys in a big boy body. So if a girl asks him out, he’s like, Sure, sounds fun! Because he’s a little boy. But if the boy asks the girl out, that means the boy’s taking responsiblity and initiative, which is as it should be.

D, was be friends, first and foremost. Guys and girls are brothers and sisters with God. He had a great analogy. First, run to Jesus, and you’ll find somebody. And if you’ve been running for a while, look left and right to see who is running alongside you, and you’ll find somebody. And in every day marriage life, it’s not exactly romantic. Poopy diapers, etc. So you need to be best friends with them, because you can help each other through the less-glamorous stuff. I really liked the talk, and I thought you’d like to know this stuff too! It was great.

***

But all this didn’t really help my present status. I’m still single. Never dated. I think I said that already. And I was worried that perhaps it was because of my deafness, you know, scaring guys away. So I posted my worries on a forum, and everybody said not to worry. It’s only because current society puts so much emphasis on the “relationship” vs. the friendship. And I have a few friendships with guys. Single guys. Single cute guys. Single cute (and to varying degrees) considerate guys. And I have a few more facebook friendships with other single cute guys, but I don’t really remember them and I don’t think they really remember me, from the last pro-life group meeting. about 3 months ago.

Bachelor #1– call him B. I’ve been IMing him for a while, and he seems nice and considerate for a friend. I don’t think I ever met him in person, but we go to the same college and have the same friends, it’s just that we’ve never had a chance to meet. Maybe we did, and I don’t remember. Anyway, he said he didn’t mind that I was deaf. “Really, I don’t mind!” Even though I was being all self-deprecating, because I’m afraid to be strong about my deafness. ‘Cause I don’t really like pity-parties, and I don’t want people to think that that’s what I want. Anyway, it happened to be at a time when I was feeling rather down about being deaf/hard of hearing. But his words cheered me up. If he doesn’t mind, then there’s got to be other guys who don’t care either! So, even if we never progress beyond friendship (fine by me…I’m not setting my hopes high), he has certainly helped bolster my spirit. I don’t think he realizes that, but he is great. Also, he remembered that I don’t like to use the phone. Usually people keep asking me for my number because they forget how I rather hate talking on the phone. So that’s another plus! 🙂 And he’s Catholic, the VP for CCM. So he’s practicing, yet not too ferverent. Nice and laidback, I believe. I have yet to go to a CCM meeting. I hope to do so soon. So I can meet him and see what he’s like in person.

Bachelor #2– call him Z. He’s cute. I thought he was cute from the first time I saw him, at the very first pro life meeting. Also Catholic, only with FOCUS. He has that Indian flair about him, the subcontinent, and in looks, not in actions, that is. I’ve actually met him several times, and I’m hoping, yet I don’t want to set my hopes up high. Which is okay. But he knows I don’t like the phone, yet he called twice. The first time, I don’t think he realized how hard it was for me to hear on the phone. So I’m pretty sure I sounded stupid. At any rate, he hadn’t called back until yesterday, to meet at the library for a pro life mini meeting. Only thing, we met at 11:30, but the president of the group didn’t get out of class until noonish. So, we talked for a half an hour, kind of awkwardly, and I’m sure I’m even more stupid about it. I wish i didn’t constantly degrade my deafness, you know. He sang a bit to himself, and it sounded like he had a good voice. So he sorta–not mumbled–but you know when people talk low and fast, as if to themselves? I only caught a few words about American Idol. So I was joking about maybe I should sign, would that count as a song on American Idol? Because I don’t have a good voice “obviously”.

So, I don’t know, it’s like he forgets I’m deaf, and little comments here and there that I say seem to remind him, and he doesn’t know what to say. I want to be upfront (no nasty surprises). So if he’s not prepared for my deafness, then okay. Not worth it anyway. But it’s a friendship, as always, to begin with.

 There’s a few other guys, like one I talked to briefly about sign language at the Dating Game, after the speech. He was cute, and was interested in signing, and maybe mildly interested in me? I don’t know his name though, to facebook him! But there’s guys out there, I’m finding out. And I’m getting hopeful 🙂

 Yeah, I know this is long, and if you survived all the way to the end, reading it, then I’m surprised! But thanks for listening…anonymously. It feels nice to share it with somebody who can’t really judge me properly, or even know me. Or maybe you do, keeping tabs on me. Which is fine. I’m just talking to myself anyway. I can’t really share all this stuff with any one person. I don’t really know anybody who can properly understand, except for God. Only this is more…concrete, I should say.

 

Faith and the Devil August 12, 2007

Filed under: Catholic,discernation,dream,joy,nun,philosophy,religion — bookwritegirl @ 10:30 pm

I vary quite a bit in my faith. Waver is perhaps the better word. I waver over a period of years, and I waver over a period of hours. Yes, I’m a Catholic, but what does that really mean? Is it all worth it? Is it the one true religion? Yes, I have my weak times, where the stream of my faith slows to a trickle. No, I’ve never gave it up; I always have been a Catholic. But there was a time when I positively resented going to Mass on a weekly basis. Even during Confirmation preparation, I wasn’t quite sure, but how could I explain that to my parents? So I felt obligated to go right through, anyway.

Then there was the time I wanted to become a nun. I was quite sure; I had always felt joyful whenever I saw nuns in movies and in real life. I took this as a sign of my calling, and started researching convents. But now I realize I was only truly considering being a nun for another reason. It wasn’t pure faith that drove me, it was my stubborness. You see, my dad’s not exactly the most faithful person. He has his dry times too, I know. I thought it would drive him crazy if I entered a convent, because it wasn’t on his list of things for me to do in my life. To tell you the truth, it isn’t on my mom’s list, either.

Now, I think I’ve moderated. We’re human; we can’t maintian a certain level indefinitely, whether it be our weight or our faith. I know I could improve my knowledge of my faith. But no longer do I settle for agnosticism or zealotism. I’m content to be single, and if I do find that one man in my life, I’d be glad to marry him, work at our marriage, and have children. (I could write while being a stay-at-home mom!) That’s the kind of life I’d like to have.

What I’ve noticed though, when I climbed up from my less-than-stellar faith levels, the Devil seemed particularly strong. He attacked as I tried to be more open to God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit. And when I started conquering my sins, he attacked me in my sleep, in my dreams. First it was a general feeling of unease, then he preyed on my insecurities…which I’m ashamed to say is…sex. But I began to overcome this, with the help of Heaven. These dreams recur only occasionally now, and I’m better equipped to counteract them.

Then Satan tried different tactics, and actually preyed upon me at night. As I would wait for sleep to overcome me, ferocious battles would be waged in my head…perhaps it was just imagination, but I increasingly felt despair, until it finally occured to me like a rap on the head from my guardian angel–I could pray! I would cry and pray for forgiveness, until finally these “panic attacks” went away. I would have a visual attack in my dream. I think it’s several posts back, but I posted this dream before, where I was saved by singing “Gentle Woman, Quiet Light”. I think I had similar dreams before then, when I would wake up, shaken. But after this dream I felt deep calm and woke up calm, not panicky.

 Another tactic the devil likes to use is despair and a morass of self-pity. I mean, we’re all sinners right? God takes pity on us and saves us, and I firmly believe this is because He loves us. But how can we ever measure up to His standards? Wouldn’t it be easier not to try? This is the exact sort of thinking that makes Satan rejoice, for it will lead us only downward. If we don’t try to be perfect, might as well sin, because we’re all sinners, and there’s no way we can change that. Yes, we are sinners. But we do our best. And in God’s eyes, that is very good, and that’s why He forgives us…He will always forgive us, no matter how many times we sin.

 I think I made a mortal sin, and this is causing me pain. I’m trying to rationalize it, that no, it’s not mortal, it’s only venial, but really, I’m not sure. I may be scrupulous, but it probably is mortal. But I’m really hoping that God will forgive me. I really hope He will. I’m sure He will, but this is the sort of self-doubt that drags us–me–down. We’re all in the same boat. Yes, sometimes we jump off, but I’m willing to help you back on if you want me to, if you’re willing to help me 🙂

 

Some musings on vocations… June 2, 2007

Filed under: ASL,books,Catholic,college,discernation,nun,religion,school,sister — bookwritegirl @ 8:47 pm

Well, bit by bit my questions are being answered on various forums and threads, such as about cochlear implants (somebody knew a sister who got an implant AFTER entering the order). I also figured out that whatever I join, I need to be doing a variety of things. I’ll get bored if I do the same thing day in and day out…yes, I know the prayers are the same and the pattern of day is the same, but if I can teach one day then do some crocheting, then write for myself, then work with the poor, then paint the convent…you get the idea. I’ve also gotten a lot of encouragement from the online community 🙂 One lady said, “Don’t walk, RUN to your Bridegroom!”, and another person said I should concentrate on finding an order that fits your charism and talents best, first, then negotiate accomodations for health, implant, etc. Both of these helped me a lot, and another guy posted a couple of links to a list of all or most of the orders.

I’ve been going through each individual order on the list. Automatic ‘no’s are orders who didn’t submit a description of themselves, and contemplative only orders. I say no to most orders who don’t have a website, but not always (depending on their description). I figure if they don’t have a website, they either don’t have money enough for it, let alone for my upkeep, or they’re too cloistered. It is my belief that nuns and religious sisters should take an active part of the community, raise visibility, and dismiss (oh, what’s the word?) cliches? old wives tales? Anyway, sure, praying is important and vital, and I’m all for it, but you must take an active part in getting the prayers answered. In other words, you have to help God help you.

My emotions and thoughts and feelings have been going all over the board concerning vocations, now more than ever, which is odd, because I have at least 3-4 more years of college to complete to get my degree. Yes, I know most orders don’t require a degree, but I feel I can be more of an asset if I have more of a education and background, much how a star employee can make the company soar to new heights, I want to help the Catholic Church soar to new heights in the world. I want to make a difference in as many lives as I can, and that brings me back to the visibility and modernity issue. Yes, habits are important and vital. So are prayers. But prayers aren’t the only tool availiable to us. Do you think XXX businesses stick to undercover brothels? No, they make porn sites, and use ads to get to the masses. We must use these very weapons to faith and turn it to our advantage…in other words, we must make faith sites and use ads to get to the masses. We must blog! We must podcast! Above all, we must enter each person’s heart, the path which increasingly is through media. This is why I’m keeping Daughters of St. Paul in mind, for media is their charism (is that the right word?). Plus they have a publisher, so maybe I can publish some of my books through there…one only hopes!

I do have more questions I will be asking… Can nuns have fun? I’m a amusement park fan, and sure, while we can’t go every year, I’d like to go every 5 years, maybe. Can I be based at one order, but be a sort of a “floating” nun, so I can travel? Can an order own a dog jointly among the sisters? Can I keep my books and some of my movies? (Not just for myself, but to share). Can I keep some of my clothes, for painting and such hot and sweaty work? If I come down with one of my migraines, is it even possible for me to sleep it off, instead of (unfortunately) morning prayers or something? Can nuns still go see movies? (It’s a good tool to use to reach the young…using popular media as a vehicle for a message). Etc etc.

If any of you readers want to suggest a good order, please feel free to leave a comment! I’m interested in pro life, education, deaf and other physical disabilities, cooking, arts and crafts, children!, pregnant mothers, media, writing, reading, promoting books, helping the poor, traveling…The order doesn’t have to cover all these points, but most would be nice, or maybe if the charism leaves room for future ideas and missions, I’d consider those too. 🙂

 

ASL dream May 16, 2007

Filed under: ASL,Catholic,discernation,dream,happiness,joy,Love,nun,religion,sister — bookwritegirl @ 9:40 pm

I have a lot of weird dreams. Flying, falling, earthquake, etc. You name it. I’ve even had closed captioning on a few of my dreams, and I even spotted a spelling error. I’ve tasted rootbeer and marshmallows, and I’ve smelled popcorn. I’ve  read people’s minds. I dream in color. I dream like a movie, and I dream I am both the actress and the viewer. I’ve read in my dreams. I’ve yelled in my dreams. I’ve cried and prayed in my dreams. I’ve even signed in my dreams.

But for the first true time, I’ve heard in my dreams. Usually it’s a muffled kind of talking or yelling that is considered to be more of mind-reading than actual communication. But a couple of nights ago, I’ve truly heard. It was a crystal clear, nice, spiritual, uplifting kind of sound. And it was me, I was singing “Amazing Grace”, the first verse, and then “Silent Night”. For Amazing Grace, I figured out–in my dream–how to sign it. I had been thinking it over in my head, but finally figured out how at night.

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see!

Silent night, Holy night, all is calm, all is bright, round yon virgin, mother and Child, holy Infant so tender and mild, sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace.

Words do no justice to the peace and movement I felt while singing and signing in my dream. I felt…peaceful. Whole. True. Loved. Have you ever felt a moment when it feels like your heart is about to burst from the love  and joy you feel and give? Like you’re one with someone else, like you’re one with God? This is the best I can describe it as.

Writing this, I just realized something. I had prayed to God one of those futile prayers I was certain wouldn’t really be answered, but prayed anyway just in case He could grant me this one prayer. I had prayed that I would have a nice singing voice, that I could truly hear music. He did grant me this prayer! Through this dream.

Another thing I should point out…I was a nun, a new nun, signing to other nuns, in a church, in this dream. Could this have been an answer to my discernation process? Or am I reading too much into my dream? I wonder.

And I should also add in this same post, I once had another similar dream. Well, it’s not exactly similar in content, but rather feeling. Here’s the post I wrote somewhere else:

***

One time, I had a dream like yours. It wasn’t a demon per se, I can’t remember what it was, but I knew someone was bad. They tried to make me scared enough to listen to them, to do what they said, but also I knew if I said some prayers, I’d be all right. It took a while, too, to say the words, so instead I thought them. I started saying “Our Father” and then sang the Hail Mary song (you know, “quiet light, morning star, shining bright, Gentle Mother, peaceful dove…”). Then I felt braver for standing up to the bad person, to evil, and I wasn’t scared at all of what that person was going to do to me when I stood up for my beliefs and morals. I can’t remember if I died, but I woke up, feeling really peaceful. I felt glad. I haven’t had that dream since.

***

 

Love…for worse.

Filed under: ASL,happiness,joy,Love,nun,religion — bookwritegirl @ 9:12 pm

Sometimes, like now, I feel rather depressed because I’m afraid nobody will ever love me. Yes, my family loves me, but you can’t choose family, can you? They certainly didn’t choose to make me deaf. True, they would still have had me if they had known I was deaf before birth, but that’s not the same thing as choosing to make someone a part of your family. Like a man.

What man would ever choose to love me, quirks, disability, and all? Glasses cost a lot of money, and so do hearing aids, and so do cochlear implants. Batteries cost a lot of money, and so do audiology appointments, and so do regular old doctor appointments for certain reasons, including migraines. What man would willingly marry me if they know I’m expensive? Really, all I ask for beyond regular necessary upkeep are books. Books are my passion, and I’d gladly not get that new patriotic T-shirt from Old Navy if it meant I could spend the money on a book instead. Even then, I love used books! Really, the only books I have to get new are the Harry Potter books, and the last one’s coming out this summer.

What man would choose to love me if he knew we’d most likely would have deaf kids? It’s genetic, as much as I disbelieve that fact. So that’d mean we’d have expenses for hearing aids 3X, 4X, 8X, or even maybe 12 times over. I hate to see how much that would cost, though I’d spare no cost to make sure my child(ren) were a part of the world, through both hearing aids/cochlear implants, and ASL. I’m all for bi-bi 🙂 .

On the other hand, what convent would choose to have me, if they knew they had to pay for my upkeep? I mean, the Catholic Church has only so much in its coffers, money which could be better spent on the truly needy and the most important things. I don’t mind wearing a habit, in fact, I think I’ll look quite good in one. But I get heat-sick. I wish I knew if they had lighter habits, or if it was scandalous to forego wearing one if I was working in the streets in August. There are far more able-bodied people that the convent would most likely prefer over me. It’s not like I shy away from hard work. In fact, I enjoy being busy, with the occasional down-times. I like having a purpose. I like working hard. But if I come with so many strings, work ethic becomes meaningless.

But then I look at Helen Keller, who got even a marriage proposal (until her mother scared off the prospective groom because she felt disabled people shouldn’t marry –i.e., eugenics reasons.). I guess I have to keep an eye out for the man who’ll live out the true meaning of “for better and for worse”, who’ll take the certain worse along with the certain better. The sad thing is, too many believe in fleeting happiness, divorcing at the sign of a bad time, instead of bearing through and experiencing what true joy is all about.

There, I cheered myself up a little. There has to be at least one man among the 6 billion-plus in the world today, who’ll love me. The only problem is, I’m thinking He’s not of the earth.

 

An update on discernation

Filed under: Catholic,discernation,nun,religion,sister — bookwritegirl @ 8:49 pm

Well, even though I’m seriously thinking about becoming a sister or a nun, lately the scale’s been tipping in the other direction to the other great vocation: marriage.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have a boyfriend, and have never had one, so it’s not even a remote possibility at the moment, but I feel like I’m looking forward to love, marriage, a life-long best friend, children, and a house. The great American dream, I know. I don’t want to preclude that option by announcing that I’m in the discernment process right now. The man of my dreams could think that he’ll never get me because I’m too stuck up to open up to love. Then again, I wonder, could the “man of my dreams” be Jesus?

Also, would becoming a nun scare my friends off? I have a few atheistic/you name its as friends, and slowly I feel I’m setting an example for them, showing them that religion doesn’t automatically exclude peace. And if I become a nun, I’m afraid that it would undo what little I’ve done so far. Not that nuns are warriors, but that to them I’m “so single-minded in my faith that I just had to become a nun”. If that even makes sense at all.

The thing is, like my mom just told me, my “heart is so big” and I “want to save the world”. Her words, not mine. I would instead say that I want to do my part, help out where I can, when I can. I want to help out pro-life efforts, encourage others to read, encourage cord blood stem cell research (which have the qualities of embryonic, but without the controversy and without the risk of morphing into cancer cells), help the homeless, promote libraries, write great books, etc etc. My mom is suggesting (when I told her I was going to join the homeless group that’s just forming on campus) that I pick one issue and devote my time to it. Like libraries and writing and pro-life. There’s so much to improve in the world that I want to be a part of, but maybe she’s saying the world is already a better place, and would improve even greater if we picked one way we can help out, and devote all our energies into that one thing.

 The trouble is, which one? That’s where joining a convent comes in. See, they have so many ways they help out the community and the world, that I wouldn’t have to pick. Or picking a religious vocation, which automatically makes me a part of all the other groups.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m standing on the threshold of two doors. One is marriage vocation, and the other is religious vocation. I have one foot in each room, which prevents me from taking full part of either parties that’s going on in both rooms. And, like anybody else who has been in the same place can tell you, having one foot in each place makes you very, very unbalanced at the moment.

 

Discernation musings May 8, 2007

Filed under: Catholic,discernation,nun,religion,sister — bookwritegirl @ 4:42 pm

I’ve been thinking about this since 3rd or 4th grade, but now I’m finally at a point in my life when I can start the active discernation process. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m saying that I want to be a nun or a religious sister. I’ve been researching off and on for a while—one thing I found is that I can’t find a site that tells  me all I want to know about all the different orders and where all these different orders are around the country and world. (If you know of one, please post a reply! ).

But I am thinking of the Francisians or the Benedictines–but then, they’re the only ones I’ve researched. What I really want to do is to be able to travel the world, go to Rome, Scotland, etc., read, write, help others to discover the joys of reading, be a librarian, be around children a lot, teach, etc. A must is to be active in the community, and pro-life activity is a plus (doesn’t matter whether it’s from conception or at death). The problem is that I can’t find an order that  lets me do all of these!

But I will try to remember to start praying the Rosary to ask for help in the discernation process, and perhaps when I read the Bible over summer, I’ll find a passage that really tips the scale one way or another. I’ll probably write more about this issue over summer, so stay posted! 🙂