ripped from the headlines

Or rather, ripped from the a conversation I was having with one of my novicey friends the other day ...

Me: You know, I've been thinking.
Novicey Friend: Good.
Me: You know how little kids sleep alot when they're going through a growth spurt?

Novicey Friend: If you say so.
Me: They do. Or at least I think they do. Anyway, like I said I've been thinking. Growing is hard work. It makes you tired. And spiritual growth is exhausting!
Novicey Friend: Yup.

Before I entered the Novitiate, I was frustrated because no one could explain what the experience was like to my satisfaction. Now here I am in the midst of what I can only describe as an amazing and transformative experience, and I can't explain it either. It's something you need to live through, and I bet it's a different experience for every novice. Our Constitutions describe the Canonical Year as a time when "a novice focuses primarily on her transformation in Jesus Christ." That sounds so nice, doesn't it? And it is such a gift to to have this time to begin what I'm realizing this is really a life long journey. But it's also hard work in many ways. Almost 3 months in, the lived experience is wonderful and messy and hard and surprising and heartening and many other things that at the moment means that I am exhausted! Good thing I've got a nice comfy bed...

Peace Out my bloggy friends!


Lisa said...

You're right that in many ways it's difficult to fully explain the novitiate experience, but sharing insights from one's experience does help illuminate for others the overall purpose of novitiate within the journey of religious life.

Novitate is a unique experience and a graced opportunity to engage in tending the cloister garden of the heart.

Reading your post reminded me of a conversation long ago. One friend once described her novitiate experience as going through through psychotherapy using the Gospels as a guide. That struck someone else listening as odd, but she actually meant it in the best way. She proceeded to explain that her novitate journey was one of deep looking within in the light of the Gospel, holding on to that which would lead her closer to Jesus and letting go of that which stood in the way. It made perfect sense to me, but I think the notion actually alarmed the other person.

Novitiate is a unique opportunity given to religious life, but also a unique challenge. In some ways I think it's years and years of life and self-discovery and expression compressed into one-two years.

Continue to be encouraged. Going through the whole gamut of feelings and emotions means that you really are doing the work necessary to reaping the benefits and graces of novitiate.

Peace and all good things,

Steve Bogner said...

I smiled when you mentioned the 'growth spurt'. My older son is 12 - and he has grown like crazy lately. He's wearing shoes larger than mine now, and he's taller than his mom. He loves to sleep, but there are nights when he is so wound up he can't get to sleep until 3 or 4 in the morning. He's more and more in a full-size body but still a clumsy kid inside who is learning how he fits into this fast-changing world.

Times of growth, I think, happen throughout our lives. Maybe we don't realize it, or we discount it, or maybe we get better at handling it. The gem in it all, perhaps, is gaining the presence and the humility to embrace those growth spurts while they last.

Christine said...

Peace out yourself!

There's a great quote by Anne Lamott about how when you give your life over to Jesus it's all lovely and happy and you now have a nice shiny new house (I'm paraphrasing, here) and then you wake up one day and there's a wrecking ball warming up outside your window... turns out God was just getting the goods together and it looks like the whole foundation has to go.

That's always been comforting to me... that others have made it through that process and that I have too. And likely will again and again and again...

Blessings on your Thanksgiving, Susan! You and your companions are in my prayers. I'm so grateful you blog too. C.

Anonymous said...

(o) hugs to you. thanks for this thought-provoking post