2.08.2011

Bureaucratic Past, meet Religious Life Present

As a little girl, I never wanted to become a nun. To be honest the notion was probably back there somewhere in my subconscious. Instead, weird as it may seem, I always wanted to be a bureaucrat, a civil servant, a public employee. Honestly.

It might help to explain this odd vocational desire to know that I grew up in a political family. My father was a local elected official. My mother worked on Capitol Hill. I grew up going to campaign events and understanding how a bill became a law long before I saw it illustrated in cartoon form on Schoolhouse Rock. Political office wasn't my thing, but making the world a better place as a part of the government seemed like my calling.

So I went to summer camps with names like "Critical Thinking" and "Leadership Development" in middle and high school. I went away to college and majored in political science. I interned in the Mayor's Office. After college, I took the civil service test and got a job as a street level bureaucrat with the City Auditor's Office.

Eight years later I was a glorified bureaucrat in charge of our municipal elections, aka regulations and red tape, with the occasional law suit and scandal thrown in. I had a government pension and if I stayed on the path I was on, I was sure to rise in the bureaucratic ranks until I was able to retire at the young age of 53. Everything I'd always wanted was right there waiting for me ... or was it?

You see, while my government job was becoming the career I thought I'd always wanted, I also started to connect my faith life with my desire to make the world a better place. I became the ultimate peace and justice church geek and through a complicated process that only made sense through the grace of God and the presence of the Holy Spirit, I realized that I wasn't called to be a bureaucrat after all. Instead this wonderfully crazy thing called religious life started to make more and more sense.

Flash forward five years. I'm a vowed member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace. I'm realizing more and more that we bring our stories with us. All of those things I learned on my path to becoming a bureaucrat come in handy in my current ministry at a peace and justice center. Today was a case in point. I was asked to testify in support of some human trafficking legislation at the State Capitol today. It was fun to tap back into my bureaucratic past in my religious life present, advocating for legislation on behalf of the poor and marginalized.

God's ways are certainly mysterious ... my job it seems is to trust and go along for the ride.

1 comment:

Kelly_SSJ/A said...

thank you for the reminder that my past story has a big impact on my now story! sometimes I would like to eliminate parts of the 'rest of the story' but...then I wouldn't be me now would I? :)