Brother Leo--"Hey, Francis...what's up with the joy thing?"
Francis (in the tone of any good teacher)--"Well, Leo...what do you think joy is?"
Leo (rolling his eyes)--"Seriously? Ok...joy...hmm....world peace, end of poverty, violence, hunger, war, extinction of peas, raisins, and the song kumbaya, Brother Al not snoring so loudly, living the Gospel fully, and Godiva chocolate."
(Francis considers Godiva chocolate as the essence of Joy, but thinks better of it and makes the sound of a game show buzzer...errrr)
Leo (rolling his eyes again)--"Oh great...parable time...I can see it in your face. Here we go..."
Francis (smiling broadly)--"You mentioned Brother Al's snoring and the extinction of peas."
Leo--"Only you..Mr. Dance in the streets would connect snoring and peas. Alright I'm listening."
Francis--"Let's say...you and Brother Al went together to Farmington, Saskatchewan to give a mission talk. You arrive at the Friary and Br. Ivan says when he opens the door, "Oh...geeze...they sent you two," and slams the door in your face.
Leo--"You do remember that I asked about joy right?"
Francis--"Oh yes I do...wait we're not even to the good part yet! So...you and Br. Al ring the bell and Br. Ivan says,
'Oh and your stubborn and don't take not-so-subliminal messages very
well either. I'll show you your room.'
He takes you out to the barn past the stables and shows you two blankets on the ground.
'Good luck with your mission talk, my Brothers, heh heh. Dinner is served at 7."
You look at Br. Al and think, "Last mission talk, we were in a hotel. I sure hope I brought ear plugs. His snoring is going to keep me up all night." And, for all intents and purposes, you can assume that it will.
Br. Leo--"JOY, Francis...JOY stay focused."
Francis--"Are you kidding me? Anyway...you go to the kitchen for dinner and discovered that it was the Regional Franciscan Iron Chef competition with secret ingredient--PEAS. Yep...that's right...6 courses all with peas."
Br. Leo--Gross...I thought the snoring would be the bad part of the story. Do I experience Joy when I muddle through the Pea-fest and come to bed to realize there is Godiva on my hay bale?"
Francis--"NO...this is the best part! True and perfect joy, my dear Brother is when you eat everything offered, offer to do the dishes for Br. Ivan, and sign up for 3 more days in the Friary under the same conditions, and finally...tell Br. Al how grateful you are that the two of you had this experience of deepened community and friendship."
Br. Leo--"Where's the joy?"
Francis--"It's in the accepting, patience, and seeing the bigger picture. You were sent to another fraternity to spread the Good News, Brother. Responding in gratitude and with sincerity...is where you'll experience true and perfect joy."
Br. Leo..."I'm sorry I asked."
Francis--"I'm not. Now, go reflect on that."
Br. Leo (rolls his eyes and walks back to his room)
Francis--"Praised be God...creator of all things good...help me see the true and perfect joy in the 'eye rolls"
I'm kinda in a Brother Leo-ish space right now. I'm wanting a big box of Godiva chocolate and I'm being served a 6 course meal of peas. To top that off...I've got all these "Francis'" saying, "Oh Katy...it's True and Perfect Joy". EYE ROLL.
I'm Franciscan, we're all about the conversion, with a giant plateful of JOY to go with it. The conversion part is pretty much the Blobby Yuck that I've talked about in other posts. You resist it, you don't like it, ew...yuck...when do we get the joy? Then you hear stuff like, "Oh...you have to walk through this and you will come out of it with wisdom and joy..." I feel compelled to scrunch face, roll eyes, and change topic.
When I professed my vows...I had learned in "nun school" about poverty, chastity, and obedience. I heard stories, experiences and had some of my own initial lived experiences of how the vows are lived out. So "a journey begun" won (ha ha ha...)...I've begun a spirit-journey, not necessarily on my terms. I professed publicly "I will obey the Spirit speaking in community".
The vow of obedience has snuck up on me in unexpected, challenging, and profound ways. The Spirit finally spoke so strongly, I couldn't even argue. (Pick yourselves up off the floor, stop hyperventilating--think conversion, it can happen to anyone!) Tending my spirit is what I am being called to right now; for me...not easy and kinda scary. But the Spirit (in the form of many of "My People") is saying: time to embrace the peas to get to the chocolate.
So...I'm just sitting down at the table, trying to be open to the fact that I'm about to eat a 6 course meal featuring peas so that I can enjoy a wonderfully raspberry filled, dark chocolate Godiva bar when I am done.
So friends in the blogosphere...I am not sure how bloggy I can be in the next month or two...stay tuned...The Adventures of One Fun Nun...has just begun. Until then...