Unexpected Joy ... Remembering the Joy of My Call to Religious Life

There's an article in NCR about the Papal letter to religious issued in anticipation of 2015, the Year of Consecrated Life. The letter is titled "Rejoice!" but is only in Italian so far so I've not read it, but I did read this in the NCR article:
Preparing for the Year for Consecrated Life, members of religious orders, secular institutes and consecrated virgins are asked to spend a considerable amount of time remembering the joy they felt when they first realized God was calling them.
"Pope Francis has asked us to let our hearts dwell on a freeze-frame of the joy of 'the moment when Jesus looked at me,'" said Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz and Archbishop Jose Rodriguez Carballo, respectively prefect and secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
When I read this article on my smartphone on the bus on the way to visit my Dad, I immediately flashed back to my moment of unexpected joy, which took place in a very unexpected place ... the women's bathroom on the 1st floor of the Portland City Hall (2nd window to the right of the rotunda on the 1st floor!).
Can't quite picture it? I can't blame you. It's an odd spot for such a moment. But luckily I already shared the moment on the way back machine that is this blog in a post from the days of my discernment entitled "Unexpected Joy." I wrote this when I was applying for candidacy with my now community:
There comes a point in Harry Potter when Harry needs to remember a moment when he was truly happy in order to fend off some foul creatures that want to eat his soul. His first memories weren't strong enough - they were the run of the mill happy. In the end he needed to find a truly joyous moment.
This all got me thinking about a moment when I was very unexpectedly filled with joy. It was back when I was first beginning to stop actively ignoring this tug I was feeling in my heart. I'd starting talking to my pastor about the direction my life was going and where God was calling me. I'd been dancing around the realization that all signs were pointing to religious life. As I think I've written here before, I wasn't too terribly excited about the idea intellectually. But then the joy hit me. In the bathroom at work of all places. I remember looking in the mirror, washing my hands, filled with joy at the wondrous possibility that I could become a Sister. I could use my gifts to serve God and help transform the world. I was literally bursting with joy. I wanted to tell the whole world. Instead I was a good bureaucrat and went back to my desk to what seemed even more like drudgery in comparison to the joyous possibilities that lay ahead for me to explore.
I've got the last part of my groovy sister application coming up on Wednesday - the dreaded psychological evaluation. It'll be fine I know but I am of course somewhat nervous. But, like Harry, I'm planning to hold on to the memory of this joyous moment in the bathroom to see me through.

Of course, little did I know there's a bit of drudgery in every life, even when it's your calling. But the joy is still there, bubbling up sometimes more than others, but always present, especially when I am with my Sisters or working for peace through justice or using my talents and gifts in little ways to serve God and help transform the world. And that, my friends, is pure gift!

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