Thank You, God! I finally got to talk to someone other than Br. Don! The silence was driving me nuts at one point. I felt like a volcano evolution to erupt. I finally ran into a woman I met on Sunday evening and whispered: “I need to talk to somebody. I am going nuts!” After eating dinner in silence, the two of us went outside where retreatants are permitted to engage in quiet conversation. We both agreed that this was intense stuff.
This retreat is having a very emotional effect on me and I have been getting very agitated. I hope I will leave on Friday morning feeling a little better about things. My dreams are revealing things about my life that I don’t like talking about with people, especially a Jungian psychologist that I just met. My sessions with Br. Don have been more emotional for me than i had anticipated.
I got an answer to my question from God in a dream last night. In the dream I saw an image of Jesus holding a red-haired doll close to His heart. The doll was supposedly me and His presence was full of compassion, not judgement, which was nice because earlier in the dream I was being yelled at and criticized by my childhood imaginary friend, Jessica. I had told Jessica about something that happened to me in real life a few years ago that had upset me. She wasn’t sympathetic and told me that I am too sensitive and that I need get over myself. The image of Jesus was a nice contrast to that.
Just a reminder, I asked God last night what He wants me to know for my deeper healing. In the dream, the image of Jesus was followed by a voice that provided me with an answer. I received the challenge of living a greater adulthood. Br. Don and I concluded that I now need to accept myself as an emerging adult and take steps to live a fuller adult life.
This is heavy stuff. I don’t know why but the word “adulthood” leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for responsibility and gaining wisdom, but I will tell you what turns me off about adulthood: society’s perception of what a mature adult looks like. I am 34 years old and most adults around my age are married, have children, settled in their careers, own a car (well, I am not able to drive so I am excused from that one), own a home and know where their life is headed. Me? I have two birds, working multiple jobs, learning new skills, still doing the music thing and don’t exactly know where my life is heading. Most of the people I know who are in similar situations as I am are in their early to mid 20s.
Like I said in an earlier post: I am a late bloomer. To help myself feel better, I often repeat the following Italian proverb: Chi va piano va sano e va lontano. Chi va forte va alla morte. In English this means, “The one who goes slow goes safely and far. The one who goes quickly will die.” Holy cow! At the rate I am moving, I am going to get to the ends of the earth!
The worst part was that during the entire time I was talking with Br. Don my mind would not stop yapping. I wanted to slap it. It kept thinking things like: “He probably thinks your an idiot,” “He probably is thinking that you are really immature for your age,” “Yo, get a hold of yourself, he probably thinks your mental!”
Then, when the topic of discerning my vocation in life came up, my initial reaction was like “Oh crap!” I mean, I will tell you that finding my calling in life has been on my mind since I hit puberty. Okay, I didn’t start thinking about it when I was that young. I started thinking seriously about my vocation in my sophomore year of high school. In fact, I became so focused and concerned about finding the answer to this penetrating question that I ended up having a nervous breakdown in my third year of college. The clock was ticking and I had no clue what kind of life I wanted after graduation. My twenties were a mess and my anxiety didn’t start to get better until I was 29 years old, when I began getting more active in my church.
Of course now there is a difference between my life now verses my twenties. While I always believed in God, I wasn’t constantly in relationship with Him. I can’t say I had much of a prayer life and I did not have as much appreciation for the sacraments like I do now. I was what you would call a clueless Catholic. I didn’t know anything. Heck, I am still learning.
I grew increasingly frustrated when I didn’t have the answers to Br. Don’s questions. My brain kept saying “Oh crap!” or “Am I supposed to know the answer to that one?” I felt like Radio Shack gone to hell. He had the questions, and I didn’t have the answers. I kind of felt like I BSed my way through some of them just to have an answer. Then, in the midst of all this, the demon of comparison showed up. I asked Br. Don: “Do you talk to anyone older than I am that still don’t know their vocation?” I thanked God when he told me there were.
After that brain-busting session ended, I went to where I get a lot of answers about life: Google. I did a search on parts of the Bible that mention adulthood. Here is what I found.
“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” – 1 Corinthians 13:11
Well, I have to think about how I could possibly take St Paul’s words and apply them to my situation. The words that stick out to me are “gave up” in “I gave up my childish ways.” What are my childish ways? I never thought of myself as having childish ways, although I am sure people who know me would say otherwise. Childlike, yes. Childish, I don’t know. Although, when I was a child, I never liked to admit I did something wrong or stupid. On second thought, I still don’t like to do that, but I manage to suck it up and take it like a woman. Now of course, I do own own up to my mistakes and screw ups, but I think I need to dig deeper here. What about the my past? What about the nature of my true self? Do I own up to that or do I cover it up? I notice that I don’t even like talking about myself with most people.
I think part of living as a full adult life is accepting these sort of things and not trying to hide them. I sometimes feel embarrassed about certain aspects of my life, like the fact that I am a late bloomer. However this comes as a result of the influence of society’s standards. If you haven’t done something by a certain age, people wonder why and ask questions. I sometimes find it difficult to be myself around people because of the fear of being judged. I always felt like an oddball or an outsider. The only time I ever feel like I belong is when I am at mass.
Br. Don ended our session with an interesting observation and some interesting advice. “You have a very rich inner life. What you need to do is take what is in inside you and make it external.” Hearing that statement made me realize why I create and make music: to make the internal external. When I compose a piece of music or do anything creative (like even writing in this blog), I take something that exists deep inside myself, pull it out and make it external so that it can be shared with others. Maybe music is my vocation and hopefully by sharing what I have created will bring others to a deeper sense of themselves and closer to God. Maybe I am making this notion of vocation more complicated than it really needs to be. Perhaps it is okay not to have an exact answer. If I knew everything about my life and where it was going, I would be God and you all can worship me!