On Life and Discerning Private Vows. . .
Saturday, February 11, 2017 by Sharon xx
Cosy Crofter Blanket
Close-up of the border
It has been a long time. Life has moved on. I have moved on. A few times I nearly deleted this blog, but then. . . . I just couldn’t quite bring myself to. I am back at work, albeit it very part-time. I provide lunch-time cover at a school for children with severe physical and learning disabilities. It’s rewarding and humbling. You think you’re having a bad day and then you realise that your worst day is a hundred times better than their best day.
Ethan is half-way through his second term at our local Catholic Senior School. For the most part he’s enjoying it and has [according to his tutor] transitioned really well but the step-up in homework quantity, compared to Primary School, has taken some getting used to. I’m sure he’s not alone in that challenge.
Si has also got himself a new job. His night shift at a local distribution warehouse has been cast aside for the dizzy heights as an IT Consultant, a job he did for fourteen years back in the days before he worked in education. The hours are so much better and so is the money. The whole nights thing is not conducive to family life or having any quality time together. Made worse to be honest by a truly ridiculous off-duty rota that included far too many single nights off. Anyone who’s worked nights will appreciate that a single night off is about as much use as a chocolate fireguard……!!!
My crochet continues on at a steady pace. I’m not churning out a project a week, or even a month, but I enjoy what I do and I’ve got three projects that are all going to be finished within the next few weeks. A shawl, a pair of socks and a blanket. I’ll post photo’s of the finished articles when I get there. I have however, finished Ethan’s Cosy Crofter Blanket and the photo’s of that are at the head of this post. The perfect finishing touch to his new bedroom.
There is big news on the Faith Front and this has been one of those subjects that I’ve spent a while deciding whether or not to write about/share. The thing that finally swung it was that I myself would have liked to have a found an article like this when I was trying to discern my religious path. Interestingly this is not something I’ve shared much in real life apart from a strictly need-to-know basis. It feels a little boastful and overly pious to make this public but hopefully it will help someone else. So . . . . . .
At the latter end of 2008 [before I became Catholic] I found the wonderful community of Turvey Abbey where, for many years, I walked the path towards becoming a Benedictine Oblate. A time of formation ensued towards taking the vows of Stability, Conversion and Obedience. For all sorts of reasons I never took that final step to oblation. All I can say is that it never felt quite right. I love Turvey and the community and I still love going there, in fact it’s probably one of my favourite places on this Earth to worship, but I felt that God was calling me elsewhere. However, it’s taken me a very long time to discern where that might be.
Somehow I felt that God was asking me to make private vows….promises just between Him and me, not attached to a charism or a community, just a way of aligning myself more closely with Jesus and hopefully bringing some of His love to all the people in my life. Easy you’d think huh? Hmmm well in reality, not easy at all. Firstly, it took me a while to find out anything about private vows [we’re not talking consecrated vows of chastity, poverty and obedience here] and secondly what would that/they even look like? With the blessing of the Turvey Nuns I gave up the Oblate path and decided to focus completely on Private Vows, asking God to guide me. I devoted the whole of Lent 2016 to this cause not really expecting much to happen in what is after all just a few short weeks. A good starting point seemed to be working out exactly what the vows would be. Clearly I’m a wife and mother so chastity or the eremetic life were out of the question. These would have to be vows that challenged me yes, but that would also fit around my family. I also felt that they would have to benefit everyone [without exception] who touched my life. These are not vows to benefit me, they’re for the benefit of my community, they’re to bring the face and love of Christ to all. So, with much trepidation and the loving support of Sr Yvonne who is the Vicar for Religious and the Pastoral Administrator of my parish, I moved forward in faith and prayer. Over the coming days words soon made themselves clear….Obedience, Simplicity…and ??? That last one was illusive to say the least. One day I was dusting upstairs with the TV on in my bedroom and I suddenly heard the word, ‘Caring’ and I knew instantly that was the last one. I’ve no idea if it was from the TV or God but there it was, loud and clear. So I had them all ~ Simplicity, Obedience and Caring. I wrote posts on Simplicity and Caring when I was discerning last year so you can read a little of the thought process behind them if you’re interested.
I have not yet made these vows but, as we approach Lent 2017, I know that the time is right to move forward with this and I will be sure to share how and when that happens. The one thing I do know is that it will be very private and simple. If you pray keep me in your prayers, if you don’t, think of me kindly as I make this amazing journey into the arms of God.