We all agree that discernment is challenging. Figuring out what the Lord is calling you to do with your life can be frustrating and exhausting. But, then add on lack of family support, cultural pressures, and your personal expectations... ugh. And, this isn't just in relation to vocational discernment, but general life discernment, too! How do you keep going? What helps you to push through? How can we encourage one another? What indicators have you experienced that lets you know you're going down the right path?
So basic vocation for all people is holiness. If not holiness, then no heaven. There's no way around it, nothing you can do to change it, and no apologies for being so blunt. If you aren't striving for holiness, then you don't get into Heaven.
So what is our vocation - holiness. Am I living out that vocation on a daily basis? Um, let me think - no... unfortunately.
It's more than that though - HOW do we get to be holy? Through prayer, a sacramental life, penance and sacrifice.
You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments. (Matthew 22)Basically - but it looks different for us all. Do we do this as married people with many children? No children? Single? Religious Life? Priesthood? Well, for me, I can say I've discerned not the priesthood ... at least one option off the list!
If we have discerned marriage (which I think I have), then how do we make that happen? It's not like you can order up a husband to lead, serve, and have children with. I mean, I guess there probably is a service for that - there appears to be an on-line dating site for almost everyone (thanks to Beth Anne for that link). However, ordering up a guy (not knocking on-line dating - thanks CM for all the great times) isn't how I see this playing out for me.
I also think the longer we wait as single ladies (and probably the gents too, but can't speak for them) the less and less we think this might actually happen. I know that I think that sometimes, particularly after a great encounter with an amazing guy - and then NOTHING, not a call, not a hello, not a text, not a like on a Facebook post. Although those things could be something or most likely nothing - it can be disheartening.
So how do I cope? Wine, Best Friends, Jesus, and Mary. Having conversations about this struggle, encouraging friends to stick with it - remembering that our vocation is really to strive for holiness and this time is part of that journey. I don't know if I'm going to be married or single for the rest of my life. I know that I'd prefer the former rather than the latter. I also don't know if I'll have children in my lifetime (although I very much want to) - if I don't get married for 10 more years (please no Lord!) then I will probably not have children.
Do I think that is my vocation? To desire marriage, but be single my whole life? I don't know - I sure hope not. I can only hope that I will be strong in my faith, remembering that my ultimate desire is Heaven. That means I need to be a Saint. To do that, I need to be Holy. How I 'be holy' on this earth - as a wife, a mother, a friend, a sister, a daughter ... only one is for certain - a woman striving for holiness.
Remembering that last one is how I keep my sanity when it's hard being single. When I go home alone at night to a dark house. When I've had a rough day at work and need someone to hug me when I walk in the door. When I make a great meal and want someone to share it with. When I experience the Lord at Mass and want someone to be joyful with. Those are the days when it's hard to be single, hard to not be fully living out my vocation to marriage - but those are also the days when I grow most in holiness, fully living out my vocation in the Universal Call to Holiness.
Thanks for reading my ramblings - for some super profound things, check out the rest of the NAS Gals. Morgan's Hosting, Jen's Hanging out, and the rest of us will be back next week with a discussion about Deal Breakers and Non-Negotiables (was just having this conversation with a friend the other night)! Have an excellent Tuesday!!!