Something happened today — I was offering an opinion someone’s view of the world and my husband made the commented that I’m probably feeling this way because I haven’t written anything spiritually.
I know what he was getting at.
We had the same exchange years ago when a similar situation occurred — about the same person. That discussion launched my persuit of the holy and we both ended up being Secular Carmelites. I don’t feel that sort of fervor now, possibly because I feel as though I’ve already settled on my found path. This time around, I feel different.
I don’t have the urgency of yesterday. I don’t know if this is right — right now. I have to explore this. But I am reminded that I was interested in writing about my secular life while I taught in a public school.
I’m a Secular Carmelite. And like many Christians who are discerning their pathway to holier living, we’re faced with.. well, you know, the world. There’s stuff we encounter that makes us all think twice. Then we do things out there, and later in the day, we end up coming home feelin like hippocrites.
I’m a little bit beyond this. Last year was my second year back teaching. The first year was absolute torture, because during that first year, my husband and I were First Year-First Promise Clothed members of a Secular Carmelite group. We were new to articulating Carmelite thought in how it applied to the world. We were catechized Catholics, married nearly 20 years, versed in the saints, including the writings of St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa and St. Therese, but this was soulful knowledge as it applied to everything outside of work: our marriage, our children, our church, our home, our upbringing, our friendships. Once we joined Carmel, we understood we were to live out there, bring Christ to the world out there. After being home for 15 years to raise the children, this was a very difficult transition.
I taught with complete control over my classroom. I’m a certified 6-12 English educator, and while I loved my kids and can remember the names of all of them 2 years later, I know I commanded the room, relying a little bit on their fear of me. I had the look: I’m a professional educator, in the middle of raising 5 kids, my eldest is in college and they’re as straight as arrows.. don’t mess with me, kids. It was horrible. Having little ones nervously look you in the eye as they try to explain their needs because of some pseudo-fearful persona I’d adopted to maintain control of a public school classroom. It didn’t feel holy. Why did I leave God at home?
This sentiment dogged me all year that first year. Second year, by the grace of God, all that ended. I vowed not to be some person kids were ever afraid of, I would never raise my voice or offer a hard stare that could easily be interpreted by a child as anything other than love. I was myself. It was a much better year.
Now, we’re entering year 3. I am now a 1st Promise Secular Carmelite, having taken the name Veronica de Jesus, and the discussion that began earlier this evening has led me to think about some goals I would like to puruse here on my little on-and-off again WordPress blog. I want to live the Carmelite life, more deeply, more authentically, everyday, at home and at work.* Maintaining this blog will offer me that opportunity to reflect and see how I’m doing.
That’s my first goal.
I think I’ll leave it there for now.
I can’t tell you how often I’ll write, but it will be often, because off the ‘net, I’ve been writing for several months now, keeping a Writer’s Notebook for my personal use, my curriculum and my work as a writing teacher. I’ve also begun my memoir. I’ve outgrown the fear of writing.
So.. I’ll see you around!
In God’s grace, love and peace, Veronica de Jesus
*for next time: what does that look like? am I going to talk about God at work? convert people?
originally posted in carmeliteintheworld.wordpress.com