Saturday, October 9

On the Monastic Life

It seems that God keeps putting odd monastics into my path. My favorite Christian singer (and probably favorite singer/songwriter of all time), Rich Mullins, lived a semi-monastic life. The only life of a saint I was required to read in school was the life of Saint Frances, who began his own monastic order. I recently read a fascinating novel that my priest recommended, and the main character was a Trappist monk (until he became Pope, that is). I have a friend who I hear is considering becoming a monk. I go to parish retreats with my church at a retreat house run by the Sisters of the Holy Nativity, and participate in a monastic life for about 2 days every 6 months or so.

All this, on top of my feeling that I'm supposed to stay single. Do I think that God wants me to be a nun? No, I'm pretty sure he doesn't. I'm not a "nunish" sort. I think I like wearing colorful clothes a bit too much! :) (I'm only half joking about that).

But maybe I'm supposed to be considering a monastic lifestyle. I know I don't want to be the secular image of the single woman, sexy and powerful, conquering all foes in a smart business outfit with perfectly matching high heels. I am very much NOT interested in being that! But neither do I want to be the stereotypical old maid with 20 cats. I will be the old maid with 5 cats. :) Kidding again! But still....

I have realized lately that I have too much stuff. None of it's great, or very high quality. There's just a lot of it. I think I want to simplify my life. For instance in clothes: the clothes that I enjoy and wear the most are the ones that I've made and/or altered myself. If I limited myself to clothes like that, with the occasional plain shirt or pair of paints thrown in, then I would have fewer things in my closet, AND would enjoy the ones I've got a lot more. I don't want to stop trying to look nice, because that's too easy for me. I slip into that naturally, and it just doesn't look good. I slip into the stereotypical "overweight single girl" image, and that's not edifying it anyone. Not to me, not to anyone who sees me, and I think that in my case it would not really glorify God. It's taken 21 years for me to get a clue that maybe the temple of the Holy Spirit should not look like an old run-down shed. A living sacrifice should probably not look like death warmed over. I know some girls who are radiant without makeup; in fact, one of them is a very good friend of mine. I envy them, but I know that I'm not one of them. I hope to be someday, but at the moment that's not the case. Plus, I tend to be in a better mood when I know that I look nice. And while I don't want to become fanatical about them, there's no sense in putting obstacles in front of myself when there's no need to. And, as it is, my makeup is not complex; it takes me about 3 minutes to put it on. As long as getting ready to go in the morning still takes me only about 20 minutes, I figure I'm not too obsessed with my appearance.

Do I have too many books? I never can decide. I like books, and make good use of most of them, so I think I'm ok on that regard. And I don't have that many junk books. It may be time to turn some of my Star Wards books into the library book sale (except for the ones by Michael Stackpole, which are still cool), along with some of the Clive Cussler books (except Atlantis Found). But on the whole, I have a good library that shows a lot of diversity. I think I'm ok on that regard.

What about what I eat? Surely I can simplify that. Focus more on vegetables (which are cheaper than meat anyway), lots of rice and grains, a little cheese, and lots of milk. Most of humanity has lived just fine on that diet for thousands of years. Besides, I really like pasta and rice, and am not that jazzed about beef or pork. I do like chicken and fish, which are pretty good for me.

So...will I actually do this? I don't know. I'm not always great at following through on resolutions, until I specifically will to do them. I hope I have the courage to act on this.

Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
I am not worthy that Thou shouldst come under my roof, but speak the word only and my soul shall be healed.


slowlane said...

I've been playing around with the idea of the monastic life for about a year now. I have decided that the strict monastic life is not what God would have for me, but I am working on incorporating some of that discipline and single-mindedness into my everyday life. The book I am working through makes me feel like I am a three month old trying to be a member of an acrobatic team... so far I have figured out how to move my head. I'd love to hear your thoughts as you continue thinking about this.

Joi said...

Ooh...We should definately get together and talk sometime. I always knew that I wanted to find other people who were kind of considering this, but you always hate to ask people, you know? For fear they'll say "Augh! I want to get married RIGHT NOW! I don't even want to think about being single!" Yeah.

Anyhow, I'm doing some reading about Saint Francis of Assisi now, and it's very cool. Have you seen the movie Brother Sun Sister Moon? It's quite good. A little bit hippie, but mostly good. :) And even where it's hippie, it's well-intentioned.

But yes, let's keep talking about this!