The other day at her Crazy DC Meet-Up, Auntie Leila pounded home the idea that we should do at least three things for our girlfriends: (1) Watch their children when they need to go to the doctor’s, (2) bring dinner to them when they’ve had a baby or are otherwise in need, and (3) have a shower for them every time they have a baby. (Not just the first time.)
This, of course, got me to thinking of my own girlfriends, especially a few that I’d been planning to mention during this week of the Epic Blogging Challenge anyway.
There’s Krista, who just started a blog. It’s called And Another Thing, Hon and I think this post does a good job of describing what she wants to do with it. Krista is a great writer (she used to write full-time; now that she stays at home, she freelances). She’s funny, she’s insightful, and she has very entertaining children. (Two very pretty, very imaginative, very smart little girls.) I’m one of the chorus of friends who has been pelting her Facebook posts with “you should start a blog!” comments for years.
Krista threw me a bridal shower and I helped throw her a baby shower. We’ve thrown a few more together. She read at my wedding; I sang at hers. We brought each other dinners when our babies were born. I don’t see as much of Krista these days as I would like, so I’m glad that with And Another Thing, Hon, I’ll have another way to keep up with what’s running through her mind.
There’s my friend Betsy, who blogs at The Adventures of an Amateur Housewife. She writes about her projects around the house and her sweet-as-can-be little boys, Joseph and John. (Seriously – it’s hard to find little guys as easygoing and likeable as Betsy’s.) I sang at Betsy’s wedding and threw her a baby shower. I also watched Joseph (whom my 3-year-old – much to the chagrin of his real little brother – dubbed, “my yiddle brudder”) when Betsy was in the hospital for John’s birth. We brought each other dinners when our babies were born. We visit (pretty) frequently and watch each other’s boys when one of us needs a hand. Betsy’s a great there-when-you-need-her kind of friend.
There’s my friend Mary, who I’m kind of calling out here, because she’s thisclose to starting a blog. She’s a terrific writer and she’s super smart and savvy, so I can’t wait to see what she’s come up with. Mary has two cutie-pie little girls and another on the way. She and I never hosted showers for each other, but we did have a joint shower thrown for us when we had our first children. (Her oldest is just about six weeks younger than mine.) We supported each other with dinners when our babies were born and we get together for playdates, though not as frequently as we should. Both Betsy and Mary were there the other night at Auntie Leila’s Crazy DC Meet-Up.
Then there’s Stephanie, who has just recently revived her blog, Watcher of the Morn’. I don’t know Stephanie quite as well as these other three ladies, but I sure do like her. (And I will always appreciate the help she gave to Brennan and me on our wedding day!) Stephanie is now about a month away from entering the convent as a postulant with the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. When you visit Stephanie’s blog, you can read how she discerned her vocation and learn about some of the more practical aspects of having a loved one in the convent. (Or this one, at least.) You can also read her thoughts on the religious life:
I’m choosing the religious life because part of answering the restlessness was making a commitment. A life commitment. Sure, I could do that by getting married and taking seriously the vow to love and cherish my spouse till death do us part. But for me, the idea of marriage and a family was a restricting one…
[E]very time I sit in a room full of young families and watch them in action and listen to their stories, I’m haunted by the thought, “But I want more.” A family of my own just isn’t enough for me! I know individual families that have done incredible things, and made huge impacts in the lives of those around them. But in my heart I knew I’d never be satisfied with that narrow sphere of influence.
I’ve spent the last four years working for a religious order, and have seen up-close the impact these men have in the lives of those they serve. Many of them have connections with people that go back 40 years. They are members of dozens of families, and they’ve impacted thousands of lives. Those in religious life will likely never know the extent of the impact they have until we all, God-willing, get to heaven. But that’s one of the things that attracted me to this life – the ability to impact the world, albeit in a quiet way. The ability to touch the world and leave behind an eternal fingerprint.
In a world with so much noise and opinions and information overload, I’m choosing religious life because I happen to believe strongly in something Pope Paul VI said in 1975. Addressing members of the Vatican’s Council for Laity, he said, “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.” Yes, it’s totally possible to be a witness as a lay person. But as a member of a religious community, especially one that wears distinctive clothing, I hope to be one of those witnesses the pope talked about. In a world where images are so powerful … the sight of a woman in a habit, standing out in a crowd, speaks louder than anything that might come out of her mouth…
This is an invitation to a radically different life, and it’s not for everyone. But it’s a life that spoke to my heart at its deepest level. That small whisper that said, “come and see.”
I am struck by how Stephanie, like many modern women, wants “more” than family life. She knows she “would never be satisfied with that narrow sphere of influence.” But unlike most of those who share her sentiment, Stephanie chooses not career and single life, but rather the convent.
Stephanie recently came to my house for lunch and we discussed this idea at length. Personally, I always felt very much called to the vocation of wife and mother. I was sure that it was what I was supposed to do. But I can see where Stephanie is coming from. I can see how the religious life – contrary to its popular portrayal – could be liberating. How freeing it could be, to point your mind and body and daily occupation all towards God! And to have your focus be so obvious to both you and the world. Now, I know that I serve God when I serve my husband and children, but I don’t usually think about it. (I should, but I don’t.) My husband and boys don’t think about it either; neither do the people we encounter on a daily basis. But (I would imagine), it’s pretty clear to a religious sister that what she’s doing, day-after-day, is serving God. And when they see her habit, the rest of the world knows it too. Society doesn’t expect her to be fully ‘of’ this world and that has got to be liberating.
Anyway, now you know a bit about four of my lovely friends who blog* (or who are, ahem, about to). Three of them, like me, find their place in their home, surrounded by the people they love. The fourth has found her place in the convent, focused on God and the work he has put before her. I hope you’ll visit all of their spaces and take a look around.
* I have more, but we’ll save them for another day…