28 October 2009

further thoughts on becoming a postulant

this friday is the celebration wherein i am to become zuster brenda. and i use the word celebration deliberately because i expect it to be a time of joy and celebration despite the fact that i've questioned more than a few times lately whether i am crazy to be making this step.

i think the questioning comes from my realization of the potential weightiness in the step i am making. on friday, i am to become a postulant - and i will answer why i would like to make this step, but i will not be actually making any sort of (permanent) commitment. so in that sense, i am promising to participate in the community in the next year, but there is freedom to leave if we discern that it is best to do so. and yet, even knowing that i have this freedom, i'm also aware of the potential weightiness of this step - that this is the first step i can take towards becoming a full member of the communiteit Spe Gaudentes. and that could mean a commitment to the community for the rest of my life, a commitment that i expect would bring much fulfillment and joy but also can bring a lot of challenges, painful self-reflection, sadness, and struggles.

and if i think about the challenges and struggles and sadness that are potentially part of joining the community, the potential weightiness of this first step is a bit overwhelming. and this past sunday i had a few of those overwhelming moments - and i couldn't help but ask God, 'can i run away now, God? (before it gets [more] difficult, that is..)

and although i didn't quite ask for (and receive!) the sign of a four-leaf clover like a friend of mine asked for when wondering about a significant decision in her own life, God did address my question in a way that i could hear and understand.

i had been thinking about what answer to give when asked why i want to become a postulant and wasn't sure what to say besides that joining the community allows me to live out my faith in a practical manner. although this is true, it's not exactly inspiring - nor does it fully cover my desires as a Christian which is not just to glorify God but also to enjoy Him forever (question and answer 1 from the Westminster shorter catechism). and so i remembered my joy in being a part of the community, of feeling at home here, and even in the midst of difficulties with language and differences, the goodness in being expected and challenged to be fully myself. and in that remembering, i started to catch a glimpse of the 'enjoying God' part that i see as part of the community. and when the texts of both of sunday's services focused on wedding feasts, i was reminded again of the joy of celebrations in and with God. and when on sunday morning, i bumped into a book about the christian vocation written by the Dominican monk, Timothy Radcliffe, it seemed the obvious thing to pick up and read - and i was reminded again of my longing to serve God fully and completely with all of who i am - and how life in community provides the challenges and opportunities to do that. this was only reinforced by my re-discovering on sunday evening the blog of Sister Edith, whose writing reminds me again of the desire to serve God fully.

and in all this, i felt God gently reminding me that deep down i don't really want to run away - instead i do want to make this step, even as crazy and weighty as it sometimes might feel. and i am looking forward to receiving the outward signs of this step: the being called zuster brenda, the apron that reminds me of the practical nature of living out my faith, and the cross of the community. the cross especially makes me think of the celebration and gift and enjoyment of God that is to be found in this next step.

1 comment:

Theo said...

Dear Brenda,
You have been a daughter of God for a long time. I see the step towards becoming zuster Brenda as an expression towards the outside world that you have accepted your position in the Kingdom.