Monday, October 8, 2007

Jabba the Yuck

Ok...so my blog is not entitled "Religious life...the land of rainbows and butterflies" for a reason! I am the queen of acknowledging the positive and eliminating the YUCK; but I had one of these profound revelations that I will attempt to share...it's filled with YUCK YUCK and more YUCK...but it's real and reality is part of this life adventure that I promised to share with you!
My image of YUCK is Jabba the Hut with the Mr. Yuck face:

Here we go...fasten your seat belts and pray (it will be a minor miracle if I actually publish this.)

Transition is one of those FABULOUS formation words that has a completely different meaning once you enter religious life. When I entered, people talk about "transition" as a state of being, a personality, an attitude...I'm finally starting to put some meaning behind my own reactions to being in "transition". (a brief aside for those who don't know me personally...I can be, well slightly animated and I have a way of saying TRANSITION that encompasses what this meaning is. When I figure out how to record my voice onto the blog...I'll add an audio :) )


So I'm in transition...on like every possible level imaginable--formation transition, living group transition, ministry transition...and there's probably more, but that seems like a good start. It takes me longer than I'd often like to come to some understandings of my reactions to things. This is partly because I have a tendency to hibernate and partly because I am an information gatherer by nature. I look for the info, the logic, and then the application.

This period of transitions for me is starting to at least be clear as far as what I'm reacting to and why. So I have the info, I'm starting to fit together the logic...and hopefully sometime in this century I'll figure out the application. :-)

The last two years of novitiate...there was an intense focus on the Katy-factor, as it should be. It was filled with the joys of GROWTH and trying to figure out this religious life stuff. Last year was a little bit of ministry, a little bit of school, a little bit about the vows...I'm growing, I'm learning, I'm integrating...woo hoo.

Then it happens and in typical Katy fashion...all at once...I have a new ministry, I'm a vowed girl, and my living group changes. No problem...I can handle this...I don't fear change...in fact change is part of the adventure...I LOVE ADVENTURES.

I don't give myself much leeway for well...anything. I was aware that all of these things were transitioning at once, but I was trying to react to them as individual events; as if this happening at once doesn't affect my being. I tend to be an extremist...so I was just plain down on myself pretty quickly for not "figuring it out" immediately. (I didn't say I was logical; I said I looked for the logic).

To be completely honest...my extremist personality said, "Ok...Kate...you are not perfect enough in your ministry, you are not perfect enough in community, you are not perfect enough...yadda yadda yadda. This is kind of a big yuck-o place to be. Especially after the extreme high of entering a new ministry and vowie wowies.

So I finally succumbed to the fact that I am in transition AGAIN. And it's like the quadruple whammy transition...not just your run-of-the-mill T-time. It wasn't the succumbing to being in transition that was a realization it was the "oh crap, I can identify (FINALLY) more of the whys and the behaviors...and what I can do about them" that is the part that has me in shock.
So I've identified a few of the YUCKS that perhaps can help me move beyond this blobby yuck funk that I am trying to EMBRACE.


**Relationships--oooh one of my core values (and I'm surprised that this is an issue for me?)
I realized that I love my job because I try to be a relationship builder (although that is my biggest challenge right now...but that's another entry for another time) as a school principal. Because I made this HUGE shift into a very consuming ministry...I think part of my struggle is feeling disconnected with relationships which are important to me. I don't see my friends, family, or community as much as I'd like. I don't connect with the people regularly anymore. I also came off of this relational high preparing for vows, especially my pre-vow retreat. I thrust myself into ministry, ministry, ministry...no balance...little integration happening here. Hmmmm.....


**God time and Katy time
Yeah...see relationships and multiply this by 5 million. I need, need, need to take time out for God time and me time. When I don't take time for this, I am usually overwhelmed and almost over the edge. I find too, particularly with this ministry...I need that down time for myself and prayer just to re-energize myself for the next day. I am not so disciplined in this and will usually excuse myself from it because of being tired. What I realize when I do take this time, I have more energy. My spiritual director (brilliant) asked me to be intentional...not judge myself about the how long, how much...is it ENOUGH (see a theme here?)...but just be intentional. So for the past month...I have lit a candle every night before bed (I haven't missed a night!). Some nights I lit it and blew it out and went to sleep, other nights I lit it and sat watching the flame, a few evenings...I even reflected for a while! I just did what I could at that moment...and it has made a world of difference on my YUCK factor.

There are a few other insights...but I'll stick with these for now. So what am I learning...nothing new...it's the same darn lessons; over and over and over and over again. The relationship thing was a big revelation because I think being disconnected (I think that's a feeling? right?) is having a big impact on me and challenging my value and my commitment. Instead of immediately owning this thought of "disconnectedness"...I get paranoid and usually come down on myself pretty hard. But when I realized..."oh Kate...let's call this Yuck monster disconnected" I can now do something about it.

All this babbling really boils down to is two words: BALANCE (grrrrr) and INTEGRATION. This stage of my religious life calls me to this in a very profound way. How do I maintain healthy relationships? How do I balance ministry and community and...and...and...? WOO hoo...I've been working on my goals..viola!

Yep...I've gathered some info...I can apply some logic to what I'm experiencing and thinking (thank GOD)...and the application I'm sure will be in the journey. That is tough...as soon as I figure it out...I want IT to happen. At least at this point I know what's "missing" and can take some action in addressing it.

There you have it, but don't be alarmed, in the grand scheme of things I'm good; ministry is good; community is GOOD...but reality does exist here. I am called to love...that's what I vowed; love when it's easy...love when it's hard. Loving, learning....all part of the journey. Religious life is real...and real includes the YUCK too. :-)

8 comments:

Susan Rose, CSJP said...

Great post. And I love the Star Wars/Mr. Yuck reference.

Hang in there - and thanks for sharing the real stuff.

Hofamyams said...

Sister Katy you just keep on keepin on girl! Youre doing exactly what God wants you to. As a teacher myself, I know what a drain your job can be and how easy it is to get overwhelmed, my suggestion is to go spend some time with the 1st graders :) they will give you energy, make you laugh and give you that unconditional love that will keep you going :)

Kristi Myers said...

Amen, Sister Katy!

Did you crawl inside my mind when I wasn't looking? Although we come from very different places, your struggle for BALANCE and the insights you shared really hit home for me. Thanks for sharing and opening yourself up like that. It was exactly what I needed to hear tonight, as I too struggle for the elusive balance and try to find time for ME and for GOD.

Thanks!

--Kristi

Tess said...

Katy,
Thanks for much for this blog. I've been thinking of you and wondering how the new ministry is going. This sharing answered my question, and also gave so much more.

Balance is so difficult for me, even after 40 plus years. But each new challenge brings an increase in awareness of who I am. I become more at home with God within. And so I love the process of continuing on this wonderful journey. It's good to journey with you.
Tess

Anonymous said...

Hi Sister Katy - Just spent time with the SSSF in Omaha. You have a wonderful community to support you - reach out. Here's what I say when the great blob of yuck threatens: "For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." JER 29:11

You don't have to have any answers...God knows the plans he has for you. Just keep being you! Barbara Wolf Shousha

Charity Therese said...

Just to let you know, Sr. Katy, I awarded your blog with the Mathetes award (excellence in discipleship)!
Come see my blog for details...and just scroll down there a little bit.
:-)
God bless!
CT

Steve said...

Sr. Katy

The force will be with you always.

Easter said...

Hi Sr. Katy,
I am Charity Terese's mom, 45 years of age. I am generally a fun loving and happy person as my 5 kids whom I homeschool would say, but I do have moments that are questionable.:-)

Here are my two favorite quotes which your exude:

"The glory of God is man fully alive." - St. Irenaeus

"To communicate every day, to participate in life continually, is to be fully alive." -Pope John Paul II, quoting St. Basil