Well Happy New Year all! I hope that all of your Christmas and holiday celebrating was filled with much love and joy! Now that I'm back to the daily novitiate schedule in California, I'm thinking that my Christmas journey durign the break felt like an outward journey or all the inward journeying that novitiate is supposed to be about. Maybe it's even the journey that Mary and Joseph would have experienced, all the traveling around and business of not being settled.
Before my last post, I was thinking about this blog and really wondering where to go with it, I didn't know who was reading it and how many. Since I've been back to the center at Nazareth. Holy Moses! I realize I can't stop now! It was great to hear in person how many people are following me around and really accompanying me on this journey. I know that there are people at the Nazareth center that print off these writing for all of the sisters, to you I've very grateful that you can be the legs and hands that allows non-computer sisters to read this! And to all the readers, thank you for your support through thoughts, prayers, and just plain reading! I had to laugh when I went to the computers on 4th floor and when the screen awakened, I saw an icon with "CSJNamaste" on it that would lead a sister right to my blog. Just a little heart warming moment! I am grateful to all of you!
Christmas felt like an amazing and long road trip around the country of places that I call home. The break was three weeks long but it seemed that the energy level that I needed for the break was about 6 months worth. I got to see a ton of sisters, some in groups, some individually and it just amazed me how available people were for the limited amount of time I had. I was able to share more of my internal processes with a lot of people that haven't been able to be in contact with me and it was just good to share the stories of what insights both life and God gift you with when you have the priviledge of having time away which this program in California does. God is truly alive in prayer, people (whether I know them or whether I just catch a glimpse of them on the sidewalk), in community, in family (though I'm not able to be close to them not, and most of all in myself. It's hard sometimes to know all the changes that are happening in myself and not have words to express that. It's only through some stories that I'm shared with people that can express the difference/ the changes in me. God is just so big right now and I never want that to leave. I suppose that's one thing that I hope to settle in this semester: I want the largeness of God to fill me, my perspectives and my heart, that I will forever be changed. I think it's possible. I hope that the settling leads me to a place that is more unitive than selfish and more loving than ever ignorant or blinded again. I also think that these changes inside which have a hard time being outwardly expressed makes it hard for people to really realize that a change has happened within myself. The people that I'm closest to, I'm not really sure that they know me anymore. I have to be okay with that, knowing that God's work with me isn't completed yet and hope that everyone can just walk with me where I'm at, loving me through it, and appreciating the positive aspects of this journey with me. At this point, I don't even know what to expect from myself these days, (I can't expect anyone else to). I'm on God's potter's wheel and just waiting patiently for an inkling of where to go or what to do next because I know only God has that knowledge.
When I got back to the Chicago house, my novitiate house, I decided that whatever was in that room, I really didn't need (except winter clothes) because I've been living without it since August. So I went through everything: books, cds, clothes, bedding, shoes, etc. It was good just to reorganize things, make my room my own and pack up boxes. I'm hoping to do more of that when I get back in May but it felt good just to clean out. I also had to do that even before I unpacked my suitcase as there wasn't a space of any of its contents! Charlene and I had some bonding time in Chicago the first week though since Kathy had meeting all week and Tess was staying at the motherhouse. Charlene and I didn't have much time to be together when I moved in because he job has her traveling a lot. We had time to decorate and cook together and just be together and get to know each other a bit more. For me, it was just a good quiet re-entering into the chaotic that Christmas time can usually be about. Oh by the way, Charlene just had an article about vocation in the America magazine. I think it's still the latest issue, if not, it's the one just previous. Check it out, her name's on the front (article inside :) Charlene Diorka! We were all proud of her!
Time at home home (Detroit/Sterling Heights)was great. I spent a good deal of that week with my family. I got to see my parents first of all and was greeted with a big ol' hug from mom (and quite few tears) and next one from dad. They even had a welcome home sign on the door with Santa on it for me. They're just too cute! Christmas Eve was time for church and Chinese food. It's a tradition with us. Then onto my cousin's house Christmas day and then to my brother's house to open immediate family presents. It was the first time that I got to see Jen pregant and the baby's room which was almost finished, minus furniture. Jeff was all proud showing me the clothes they already have for the baby including a little outfit that says "Police Academy" on it since his dad is a policeman and numerous Michigan State clothes since both parents went there. I think the most emotional part of the break was when we were there at my brother's house and the last gift of the evening was from "Aunt Jenn" (which I had a hard time writing for the first time) to "Little Graus Man". It was a book called "One the Day You were Born". Jen opened it and say that there was a letter inside. She started to read it and couldn't get through the first sentence. Jeff refused, my mom didn't think she could do it so only my dad was left. He read the note that I wrote to the baby which apologized for the fact that I can't welcome him into the world at the end of February but I had this book which I want to be a tradition between the two of us that I'll read it to him on his birthday every year until he can read it to himself. I told him that this year, I needed a fill in and I hoped that it would be grandma. Toward the end of the letter I said, "I promise to read a copy of this book the day that I get the phone call that you've arrived. I'll be with you in Spirit and hold you in my heart until I can hold you in my arms in May." All during this, my dad is reading while the song "Silent Night" is playing and all of us are in tears but it was a good family moment and I hope they understand how much I wish I could be there. Jen is on bed rest until the baby is born, I know it's all going to be okay but I'm just keeping her and close in my heart these last maybe 6 weeks.
My time in Michigan was short but I did spend time with Marie B, Jeanne and Joyce De. It was so good to be with them, Jeanne especially. We have a different mode of share now because we're both away from home and it feels good just to share with someone that's experiencing some of the same things.
There was lots of traveling, lots of energy needed and expended and even more love the was really felt in a short amount of time! I think that boost gives me a good jump start to this next semester.
We got back a week ago on the 3rd and on the 4th, Millie was out her to Orange with Lynn and JoAnn that live out here in California. I hadn't ever met them before but I was glad that I got to see Millie and that her being out her helped me to meet our own. Bernie took them for a tour and then Ann and I joined them for brunch. Picture below.
This week we had Barbara Baer from Wichita with us. She shared a very condensed version of what she would do in Bearers of the Tradition. It just amazes me all the year that she has crammed in her mind but the knowledge and all the stories with our CSSJ history was very inspiring and there are many ties that I found of how we're repeating some history with the journey that our new community is taking.
Anyway, this is getting excruciatingly long. I'll end here and just let you enjoy the pictures of my trek from Orange to Chicago to Nazareth to Chicago to Detroit/Sterling Heights to Nazareth to Chicago and back to Orange again :) Enjoy!