Tales of a Blubbering Nun

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I am writing this from my little hermit room in a monastery in Sedalia, Colorado. I have learned to love monasteries over the years, and I visit them on a semi-regular basis. They have become a part of the rhythm of my life. I come to these restful places when I need solace and regeneration, when I need to set the compass of my soul towards North again.

And so, you might imagine me, bible in my lap, pen in my hand, face towards the sky, an ethereal glow of the Master’s serenity on my face, like the pictures of Mary on those Catholic candles they sell at the dollar store.

But if that is the picture you see of me, you’re dead wrong.

Instead, I am a weeping, blubbering mess of a woman who has mascara trails on her face and has had a hard time eating for the last five days. The other seekers in this building have had their silent retreats interrupted by this blubbering, but I just can’t help it.

I don’t really know what the heck is going on.

Maybe it’s that my lease is running out and I am moving. I counted the other day- I have moved something like 20 times since I was 18, and that doesn’t even count things like working at camps and coming home for the summer. I have had at least 60 roommates over the years. That is just not the way it is supposed to be.

Maybe it’s that I’m contemplating starting a new wonderful but taxing full time career working with inner city kids, and the weight of such a big decision is scaring me to death.

Maybe it is that my dad died only three months ago, after which I promptly put together his entire memorial service, wrote a nice post about him, and put the tragedy on the back burner for a better time and place. The time and place seems to be now and here. In contemplating his death, I am also thinking about the fact that part of the reason I long for a husband so much is because I long to have a male figure that loves me, that is a good father figure to my children. It aches so deeply to think that I might never have that.

Maybe it’s that I have been fixated on mistakes I made missing out on good men- wondering if there has been some horrible trajectory of hopelessness that has come from those small decisions that have put me in this place, a life that does not include a family.

Maybe it’s that I am done with my book and have realized that I just spilled my guts out to a bunch of strangers, and that the process of spilling those guts was much more painful than I’ve admitted to myself.

Maybe it’s that I found a box of journals the other day, and some of them were written when Ice Ice Baby was considered to be a really cool song. Those journals were written such a very long time ago, and many of my memories feel too far away to touch any more. I don’t want them to be so far away.

And lastly, it is quite possible that I am blubbering because I have been thinking about the wonderful nuns and priests that live in this place, celibate and saintly, and have said to myself “dear Lord, I never asked to be a freaking modern NUN!”

Thankfully, I have been reading the words of Thomas Keating on my retreat, a very famous and wise monk. He points out that when Jesus said “I have come to seek and save the lost,”  lost actually means totally gone, hopeless, not worth giving another thought to, wiped out. I have always been taught that the lost were a group of people, which he might be referring to as well. But it brought new meaning to me today to imagine Jesus coming to seek, to intentionally look for, to save, the deepest, darkest, most hopeless, most wiped out parts of me. To bring redemption to those parts. That the more broken and frustrated and hopeless I am, that’s how much more grace and mercy and love he pours out into those places.

I also read today about Jesus eating with and defending and loving prostitutes and poor people and tax collectors and lepers and children. As I read, the scenes backed away, and I suddenly realized that the room that they were communing together in was my heart. That prostitute that has lost her identity and doesn’t believe she’s beautiful any more. That poor person who begs for scraps of mercy. That tax collector that tries to control his way into getting people to love him. That leper who longs so much to be touched. Those children who just want a daddy to hold them. All of those characters are living inside of me. And they are all so, so scared.

And then I imagined Jesus coming to all those parts of me, saying “I accept all of you. Even though the world has forgotten you, I have not forgotten. Do you have any idea how much I love you? If you were to believe that, to truly believe it, you wouldn’t be so scared. But even now, in all of your fear and all of your faithlessness, there is more than enough love to cover you. Come, sit down. Come eat with me. Feel the warmth of my complete acceptance. I will seek and save that which is lost in you.”

I also read these words from Theresa of Avilla today, “. . .we can never have too much confidence in God, who is so powerful, and so merciful. If I had on my conscience every conceivable crime, I would lose nothing of my confidence, but my heart breaking with love, I would throw myself into the arms of God, and I am certain that I would be well received.”

Oh God, my prayer for today is simply to be certain that I am well received into your strong, strong arms. That you will never let go. That there is nothing so dire that it can’t be redeemed by you. If you could help me believe that now, Lord, that would be enough for today.

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14 thoughts on “Tales of a Blubbering Nun

  1. Oh Dear Kate
    Thank you once again for pouring out your heart. To Jesus it is like that alabaster jar of perfume
    and it releases a most beautiful fragrance. As much as you have moved from one place to the next within your lifetime, it is so evident in your writings that your heart has found it’s home in Jesus.
    Let Hope remain the anchor for your soul Dear One……………… Hope is an answer within itself
    It gives the heart its wings — Wings that will one day carry us Home.

  2. Thanks for being so real. Your post was very encouraging to me. I have been struggling with depression lately and am trying so hard to remember God’s goodness. I am praying for you.

  3. Kate – I feel like everything you wrote are the words that my heart wants to say and yet my fingers can’t type or my mouth can’t say. I have prayed so many times for God to just show me what He wants me to do or to reveal my purpose in all ofthis. I keep praying that if He doesn’t want me to have a family or husband to take that desire away from me. I feel the ache and hurt in your writing and want you to know that you are not alone. And your faith is what has kept me going during some of my own darkest hours. I hope you know how much of a blessing you are to others and that you are able to see the faith you need through us during your dark periods. I’m praying for you sister.

  4. Thank you for your vulnerability. It takes such courage to shed light on those insecure characters that we all carry around in one way or another, whether we acknowledge them or not. Your honesty is refreshing, ache and all – and it makes me feel not quite so alone.

  5. Kate, I just read an article this week written by a woman who suffered from cancer. She realized that certain friends of hers distanced themselves from her after her diagnosis because they didn’t want to come to the reality that if cancer could happen to their friend, cancer could happen to them too. I have to admit, as I read your post I was both touched by your honesty and vulnerability… (because I see a lot of me in you)… but I was also afraid. I don’t want to think that I could find myself in ten years battling the same battles, and the same feelings of worry that I might not be the kind of girl who will find someone to love her. It’s an honest fear, but it is not a plausible flaw. I have already learned in my challeges that finding “him” is a mysterious event that lies just beyond our grasp and is controlled by bigger things then our own power, strength or beauty. I think it’s amazing to see how you’ve brought together many who have the same struggle, and you’ve been willing to speak with such honesty. It also dawned on me to hope that each of us who are reading will have the inner stamina to believe for each other’s men to come as well as our own. It’s too common for us woman to see each other as enemies in this battle, when really we are holding each other up until we each find victory. I love you, and I pray for your heart and your situation that God will continue to bring you hope and that He will provide answers and resolve for us both sooner rather than later!

  6. Thank you for this Kate. Thank you for sharing the beauty and healing you found with us. God is using you to touch the hearts of so many people you’ve never met, just by opening up and sharing yours.

  7. A blubbering nun, oh, indeed! How many times my lack of choice in my nunnery entrance has struck me, though, perhaps never with the reality striking you. Blubbering, though… yes. This week I have been in full “poor me” mode and this morning, driving to work with a full list of grievances, I was struck with another of those powerful truths that reveal a need for healing. I will never, never be asked to speak to a group of teenage girls or young ladies on beautiful femininity or making Jesus your Prince because – because – who wants to be told that sometimes – sometimes – you obey God and your dreams don’t come true. This is my brokenness, then: that somehow my vision has not brought perfection. Am I willing to trust that His will? Thank you for calling out, calling forth, proclaiming – redemption.

  8. What a beautiful, heart breaking, encouraging post. Thank you for opening your heart and sharing! There are those days when everything feels hopeless and we just have to trust that God’s got us. Not always easy.

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