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.

Sorrowful Solitude

In the past few months, once the last possible application date came and went in January, I’ve become more lonely. Not in the “I want a boyfriend” department, but in the “there’s no one I can turn towards”. Except Christ.

Through the years of discernment I had always heard of people discerning “singlehood”. Prior to moving out of my parents home, I thought I understood that. Living on my own, not accepted by any religious order and not having discerned marriage, I can say that’s not really appropriate. Friendships and weekend activities cannot begin to replace the graces and assistance available through community.

Singlehood is not a vocation, it is a state in life. Like being a parent, it can be part of the vocation of marriage, but it’s not the stopping point.

Very little consoles me in this time of knowing I’m without a community. Personally, community is important because I do not have family support. There is a lot of pressure to enter into marriage by my family, especially now that my sister is engaged. Most of my friends are married and of those, many with children. Others are in religious life.

I don’t fit in.

I try not to cry about it.

The Eucharist is the only time when I’m not upset or unsettled. Only He helps.