The following was my written response to a former nun friend, who recently commented that she hoped she hadn’t detected a “hint” of unhappiness in what I had written her.
“Of course, and for reasons not unlike your own, I sometimes feel as if I don’t belong on this earth. Followed by an immediate sense of guilt because, to all outward appearance, I have nothing about which to complain.
I’m blessed with caring friends, relatively satisfying—though often distant–family connections, more than adequate provision of my basic material needs, and an abundance of enriching opportunities for learning and growth.
For these, I am deeply grateful.
Below the surface often hovers an unsatisfied yearning.
For something. More. The eternal. For what lies beyond.
Looking back, I would have described this broader sense of longing in my book. The underlying reason I felt “called” to the convent.
I certainly hadn’t recognize this spiritual unrest as a child, but simply longed for something beyond Marriage, Family, Children, Career.
The ways of nuns fascinated me. How they concealed themselves behind mysterious walls and deviated from the prevailing style within long black garbs. More importantly–how they came together as one within a world where everyone seems separate.
How intent they seemed on forging a communal way to what lies Beyond.
My communal dreams live on. Thus my marriage, various partnerings and joinings–all in attempt to find a way to come together–none lasting forever.
Community life is an art, demanding honesty, guts, and lots of give and take. A challenging blend of togetherness and solitude. The appeal remains strong.
So, yes, you’ve caught me being restless or unhappy. When I persist in seeking happiness outside myself, and in the ordinary. Even within the ideal community or partnership, and within the most ideal personal and world-wide conditions, happiness can be elusive.
In the meantime, I concentrate on letting go, taking a deep breath, and trusting. . .
Myself and the Divine,