Sunday, September 21, 2014

it's all freshman year

There of course can be home moments when I am stirred into asking what am I really doing here. Then I tell myself (in regard to what is present even though inexpressible): you cannot flee into a greater clarity than what you have and you have no right to allow yourself, by attempting to take a more radical decision for your life, to fall into a greater darkness, simply because you could wish for a more radiant and compelling clarity than you now possess.
--Karl Rahner (sent via a wise and beautiful MTS-earning friend)

Way back in the dark ages, aka February of this year, my wise mother tsk-tsked at me:
you ladies are all too eager to know what is to come and have perfect control over everything in your lives. This leaves no room for discovery and development in relationships or careers or vocations or anything. Perhaps, she suggested, all the answers will not come all at once. Nor should they.
I am certainly not ready for all the answers for the rest of my life to come right now.
This, I thought, this moment, is freshman year all over again. 
After senior year--a year that is a compilation of an exhilarating several months of being confident, assured, self-possessed--a year of being the oldest, you are once again reminded of really how much growing you have to do as you enter the real world, in which you are the youngest.
But then I realized: life really is all freshman year. Senior year of college is an illusion. It is an illusion that you have reached a stage of singular importance and assurance and "having it all together" and you really have nothing of the sort.
I mean, thank goodness it is not freshman year, and never ever will ever again be that, praise all that is holy. I have not grown up a whole lot, but I will never again be that very callow and unsure young woman that arrived at Notre Dame a humid August Wednesday.

So often, I feel as Christians, we pray for humility, we pray to take up our cross each day, and we pray, as Mother Teresa does, to accept Christ in whatever comes our way: in humiliation, failure, in suffering.
And yet we have a silent coda to this prayer:
“But I know, O Lord, you will not actually let me fail.”
We think that if we just prove that we love God more than we love our own success, He will put us into the category of “people who I will allow to be successful.”
But that is not what God promises us. His promise is much deeper and stronger than that.
 His promise is that nothing will keep us from the love of Christ, and even if we are the worst failures in the history of the world, losing our jobs, destroying our reputations, loosing all those we love, He will still come to us, even in utter failure. He will reveal Himself at work in our lives in our pain, in our loneliness, in our humiliation. He will reveal Himself in our freshman year, years of embarrassment, un-surety, discomfort and restlessness.
Where there is confusion, impatience and more angst than we know what to do with, there also He will be.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We should like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new. 
- Theilhard De Chardin

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