Eve of the Feast of the Epiphany
[ now playing? ] m-flo 2007 Cosmicolor Concert @ Yokohama Arena
Today is a week from the day that I manned up to someone that has been a part of my life since 2001/2002 (I think 2002 actually).
Six years since I visited her in China. Five years since I “gave up” on her. Four and a half years since I first encountered the Benedictine approach to the faith (and that provided a bedrock during a long bout of depression).
About three and a half years since I first got a thought that maybe becoming a monk might be God’s calling for my life.
And now that I am in a relationship (“FINALLY!!!” as some of my rellies have said), I’m seeing linkages between the monastic life and the married life.
The vows made in both are solemnly binding. It’s just that in the monastic setting, one has a trial period in simple vows before professing final vows. One is to take them seriously. They aren’t to be entered into unadvisedly or in haste. They express in public a deep love between the two parties in question and a commitment to honor them.
And I think maybe that was what I was scared about. Like the stereotypical guy in romcoms and sitcoms who has issues with “the C word”. It’s easier in a sense to maintain “commitment” to God. One can’t see him. But with someone who is flesh and blood who can stand right before you, it can be intimidating. In my case, maybe I ran from that for 6 years before I finally decided (with a lot of prayer) that I should just go for it and make my intentions known to her (again).
And so the perspective on my life has changed. My desire to be a monk was trumped by my desire for human companionship and all the potentialities that brings. To (in a Catholic sort of sense), be the “priest” in the “domestic church”. I’m still quite stray, but the last week has revealed to me some very serious deficiencies in the way I went about my life beforehand. To think about dating someone who could be my future wife snapped me out of the world in which I was living in (basically thinking about the rest of my life as a bachelor, living free and easy without too many other distractions and responsibilities). It’s scary, but this is probably akin to the time in a novice’s monastic life when they are debating with themselves about whether simple vows are for them or not.
I do know this though, the last week has made all those years of reading through Proverbs 31 and Song of Songs actually come to life. Before, while there was a hope for someone who I could call my beloved, I now actually see that beloved. It’s Scripture in real life. Now all I can do is pray that I won’t stuff this second chance up and give it my all. Lord, have mercy.
Maybe I should track down those copies of St. Bernard of Clairvaux’s sermons on the Song of Songs and read through them again. They really impacted me the first time I read through them, I suspect that right now, they’ll have even more of an impact.