Today I went to collect my student Id card. The college is already beginning to feel like a place to which I feel warm and familiar towards. Even the sisters that I see walking up the road (to whom I am utterly anonymous) feel in some strange way connected to me. But then in a stranger lesser way so does everyone. Its called humanity. That subtle nuance between separation/connection is peculiar. Part of me thinks what the hell am I doing here, and the other part wonders how the heavens did I get here in the first place.
The part of me that is drawing me here, is equal to the part that is telling me to quietly turn around and run the other way. Throw in the gauntlet before I pick it up. Throw in the towel before I enter the ring. Lay it all to rest, before it goes too far. Accept my fate. You can’t change the past. You can not disown your heritage, so embrace it. It made you who you are. Maybe there is some great worth in the non academic, secular, working class world that has shaped me and carved out my life to date. The life that grew into a place muddled up with middle class, which in my dreams I would be only too perfectly happy to share and remain quite still in, if only it were with my beloved. What of faith anyway.
That yearning for fulfilment and emotional connectivity and intimacy is something that even the religious desire. There is no end to being human. I know. That yearning in my lifetime will never be cured, it will not become any less by being else. I know of its only cure, because I lived it for the shortest of whiles. Cured. God shared with me His secret. Love><GOD><Loved. And now everything else is an illusion. Why would we spend our lives encouraging and setting examples for people to marry and settle down, only for the goal posts to move when we truly know God. (or maybe most people don’t marry until they truly know God). Life is a pathetic game of dangling carrots, us just the rabbits eating, dot to dotting to each one, and as they dangle further away, we seek by following even closer. The end result death. A life gone by chasing carrots. Trying to see in the dark.
That mission…… the one that refuses to leave me alone, the one that feels like it has my name on it, the one that calls me to Love, the one that wants the sacred female element along side and supporting Christ in the diocesan church, let it go, admit defeat. It’s not mine. Let somebody else work for it. Somebody that one day will benefit. Even if I ever achieve what I want to, I wont be a beneficiary of my achievements. Ruining my life, making myself an outsider, standing up for what I believe to be right and True and just and Beautiful. Speaking out for what I truly believe Jesus wants for our world. Two Thousand years have passed by and no women have managed it so far, not since the original women. I am nobody, not even an official Catholic…stupid me. Jesus walked before Catholicism, maybe I should too. Walk away. All my life I have never been the right shape, never will be. Maybe I have already had/been my calling. Done. Dispose of me. Completed. Extinct. My children to continue.
Today in shocking unexpected alarming frustration, I threw a full hot cup of coffee, in a beautiful fine bone china mug, at high-speed up the length of my kitchen. <<POW>> It was not pre-meditated. Don’t worry, although the mug smashed I got my comeuppance, it was me that was covered in hot coffee. My husband, he brings the worst out in me. He at times can not contain his bitterness at me, his anger of my time and passion for my faith, which has taken me further away from him. He encourages me to see all my failings, he dislikes it with his whole breath. I remain faithfully composed, until I explode and completely fail in my Christian loving kindness, having broken me, he then with all his goodness serves me in his perfect loving kindness. and then he tells me in the next breath how much he loves me and wants me back, wants me back from my faithful solitude. That kind of co-dependence I can do without. Cant I.
Better for me to Love someone who hates me from the outset, that seems to bring out the best in me. Paradox. All hate me from the outset, then I will be Love, the best Love ever. Being able to Love still at such times is what makes somebody ‘a good man’. At the moment I’m struggling, therefore am closer to being bad. Iris Murdoch was right to question one of her philosophy polemics when she said “how do you know St Augustine was a good man, what is your evidence?”. Funnily enough I thought the same. If he were that good and moral a man, he would surely have made an honest women out of the mother of his child, having made her that, un-makeable. Or maybe his morals came at the point of deciding, that he should not live for a life of sexual gratification, but then surely he should have married out of duty. Who knows, maybe then she would have thrown coffee cups at him, or a least wine goblets. How do we know if Jesus would have approved of his behaviour. St Augustine is exactly the kind of man who for the last two thousand years have denied women the intimate and sacred role that Jesus blessed and entrusted them with.
Today an ageing man from my parish church was telling me a story about his recent Pilgrimage to Walsingham. He was driving another parishioner, as the coach which was hired to take the pilgrims was 1 seat short, so he kindly offered to take his vehicle. Despite knowing the route all so well (as historically he worked in the shop at Walsingham) he accidentally missed the turn off. The land mark offices at the junction had since been renovated, and so he never recognised them and sailed right on past the junction. They were 15 minutes late for the service. He was telling me how foolish he had felt in front of his guest. He then looked me straight in the eye and said in a laid back way…. “ah it doesn’t matter, all roads lead to where you want to end up eventually”……… What a kind and wise man.
This gentle man has been the kindest soul to me in the parish. Every time he used to walk to the back of the church to take up the bread and wine for consecration, he would wink and smile and acknowledge me. He never once let me go, even when I took a lengthened Lenten sabbatical, he posted cards through my door. In my absence he kept on being present. He doesn’t do that anymore, instead he has made me his assistant in taking up the bread and wine at morning Mass. It is this kind of man I will go to university for. This kind of man I see Jesus shining so brightly through. This man knows the value of Love and kindness of gentleness and compassion, and of the sacred balance between male and female. And it is for Love of the likes of him, that I promise to do all I can to carry his beloved faith on to the next generation, in the way that I believe Jesus wanted it to be passed on, by taking any road leading in the right direction, however many junctions I may have missed, however too late I may be.