I am “mourning the loss” of my vocation. In August 2015, when I went on a weekend retreat with the Carmelite sisters of the Sacred Heart of Los Angeles, I was told that I would not be accepted to their order, and that I have a “gift” for working with families and “helping them heal”. I was also told that I should consider a vocation to matrimony because “you’re full of life”. Which of course my sarcasm picked up on, later. I felt completely called to their order, made peace with the little things I disliked. I was in; so I thought.
Once I was denied entrance I did not have the chance to process the loss or to even consider what would be next for me. I had the financial concerns of not high enough income to meet my basic needs, leading to several job interviews, low-balled salary offers, and my employer giving me a raise 6 months after the fact. In short, financially, I had been living 10% below COLA. Which doesn’t sound like much until I compared my $47k (pre-tax) salary with my $51, 172 annual costs. These costs were not based off of going out every week, clubbing, none of that: oil changes, rent, LADWP, car insurance and loan, student loans, and health bills all added up to more that I could earn in a single year.
Last year’s ordeal ended with a raise just before the holidays, but not before I had learned to can jams and jellies for family and friends for Christmas – taking 10$ for food and $10 for supplies. My sister and her then-fiancé gifted my parents great things, I, jam. Beautiful Cran-raspberry jam. Anyone who returned the jars over time has gotten new jellies and jams: blueberry-Lemonade, watermelon, raspberry.
Fast forward to December 2016, I have my license, making me an LCSW. I hope to move at the end of my lease to a different area and cleaner, more spacious apartment. I will begin looking for new work. As usual, I’m making quilts and playing with my 2 hamsters in the evenings. This fall I made apple-pomegranate jam. I enjoy it for giving treats, but not as a solitary Christmas gift which I was forced into last year.
Have a blessed Advent.
For Christine, a friend, who is seeking entrance to the Carmelite Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Los Angeles.
Visit the link below for her whole story, if you cannot financially assist her, PRAY.
I received a letter on the weekend of my birthday in November. This is the text of the letter:
Praised be Jesus Christ!
May Our dear Lord reward you for your recent letter. We hope and pray that this note finds you well!
After much prayer, we wanted to let you know that we do not think it is Our dear Lord’s will that you have a vocation to our Carmel. We will always be keeping you + your dear family in our prayers. If we may suggest that to discover your vocation, to pray for + find a wise, holy Priest to direct you. And may Jesus, who described Himself as meek + humble of heart be your best model in all you do. You will be a great blessing to your family, trying to …
It goes on. I cried. I received the letter the day before my birthday, and thinking the letter was something nice, I saved it to read after morning Mass. Happy Birthday to me, I got another rejection! They hadn’t even spoken to me by phone or seen my face.
But I do have a spiritual director, and I’m okay with it. If they decided to not get to know me fully, then that’s their issue. My SD made an excellent point, that I may have answered all their questions, but they missed most of me; they may have cut off contact for various reasons that have nothing to do with me at all.
Twenty-nine years ago today, I was born. From what I hear, that was quite an event, lots of to-do about a wee little me. I was 2.2 lbs. I’m about 118lbs heavier now.
When I started working, and especially since moving out, I give myself the gift of not working on or near the date of my birthday. Two years ago I went hiking at Switzer’s Falls in the Angeles Forest when it was (surprise!) raining and some snow flurries that melted within a hour. Last year I went on a silent retreat for a day, and this year I went to Switzer’s Falls again. The restrooms were closed and the information kiosk wasn’t selling adventure passes, so a really nice couple gave me their annual pass! The fall colors were still putting on a show, and there were people around, but not so many that there weren’t extended periods of alone time. I returned in time for therapy & dinner at home; then went out to the Yardhouse in Long Beach with some grad school friends & coworkers. Some of them re-gifted items to me (i.e. no original packaging, things are not correctly itemized in the packaging).
Today I went to Mass, came home and excitedly read a letter that had arrived yesterday from the monastery. I was told that after “much prayer” that God “isn’t calling you to our Carmel”. Lovely news to read on my birthday. But I went on with my day, buying a gift for mom’s birthday, some errands and a late lunch with friends at Versailles, a Cuban restuarant. Now, i’m doing laundry. Might do some sewing later. Mom’s birthday was on Thursday, and she controls the birthday weekend: her cake, her time, her location, etc. I had to ask Dad if he/they wanted my birthday gift suggestions, and he was “Uh, what?” Like, hello, it’s my birthday, too. Anyway, my family is crazy.
I sent a letter last week to a monastery in Colorado. These nuns have internet & email, but I don’t; hence, a letter.
I received a letter last week to a monastery in NorCal. I hope I don’t lose it in the move. Both are good, but I want more history on the one in Colorado.
Two is a good number to pick from, anymore and you’re just throwing yourself around. This is God, not a roll of dice.