Even though it has been over a year since I left the convent, I still feel like I do not know where my life is going or what God really wants for me. Great things have definitely happened in my life this past year and I don’t doubt my decision of leaving Religious Life, but I still feel like I wish I had more clarity in everything. My heart is still restless about the day-to-day things and I have flashbacks to the convent where things “seemed” so much more clear and directed. It is hard to trust that God really does have something better for me out here in the world.
A few weeks ago, I went back and visited my previous community for their celebrations of Final and Temporary Vows. I am sure anyone who has been back to their communities after leaving can relate to this. The experience was really painful yet blessed all at the same time. I can see that I really needed to go and see myself as separate, but it was incredibly painful to be on the “outside” of everything for the first time and to be at a distance from those whom I entered the community with. Some Sisters were better than other at making me feel welcome, and for others I could see discomfort at my presence. I just wish it didn’t have to be that way. I wish we could just keep our friendships in some normal way, but I know that our relationships have to change for the good of them and me as well.
As I work through the painful separation from the life of a Religious Sister, I see Saint Monica as a source of hope. She persevered her whole life praying for something that seemed crazy to everyone around her and God blessed her perseverance. Saint Augustine eventually converted from a crazy life to life lived for God alone. So many days I just want to give up my prayer life and everything that goes along with my relationship with God, but I know that if I persevere, He will bless me and show me whatever He has waiting for me out here in the world. As Saint Augustine says, “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.” My heart may still be restless a year after leaving the convent, but I know the answer to that restlessness lies in God alone and persevering in my relationship with Him.