Was it just me, or did returning from the convent leave you feeling like a turtle standing there without a shell?
|awk.ward (ak-werd)-Not graceful; ungainly.-Not dexterous; clumsy.-Clumsily or unskillfully performed: –Difficult to handle or manage:-Marked by or causing embarrassment or discomfort:|
For me, the only thing more awkward than sitting in the airport on my way home wearing my knee-highs and clunky “nun-shoes,” with no one to talk to and nothing to make me look distracted or less lonely than my breviary and rosary, was facing EVERYONE…because even though people are understanding, nobody understands.
Why am I awkward? Let’s face it, I’ve probably always been a bit different. The fact that my idea of the perfect life was vowing and embracing the evangelical counsels; the exact opposite of that which the world tells us will make us happy, attests to this. Sex, money and power anyone? No thanks, I could really go for a life long commitment of chastity, poverty and obedience… What?
The thing is, the more I became graceful and comfortable living the religious life the more I became clumsy and uncomfortable in the secular world. In some ways I think it just had to do with the fact that I wasn’t used to being exposed to the world anymore. I was used to modesty, silence and prayer, study and recreation, a schedule and a community of women striving for holiness and love. All of a sudden I came crashing into the immodest, noisy, chaotic and selfish world that I had previously escaped. All of a sudden I felt scandalized and uncomfortable by everything around me.
However, now that I’ve been back in the world even longer than I was in the convent and now that I’m well exposed to the world and I don’t feel scandalized and embarrassed at every moment, I think that it’s still important to be awkward. We should be graceful and skillful women of Christ but awkward to sin and the secular world. Lets not get comfortable with that which the world offers but rather keep striving for chastity, poverty and obedience according to our state in life.
Be the woman who is modest in speech, dress and behavior. Be the woman who lives simply, tithes and gives to charity. Be the woman who lives the Gospel and is obedient and docile to her priest or spiritual director and to her employer. Be the woman who holds mankind in her heart and offers her life in love for the salvation of souls. Be the awkward light that catches the attention of sinners and makes them feel uncomfortable. Be the light that makes the roaches run and scatter. Be the light that awakens the sleeping. Be the light that expels darkness.
Lord, give us the grace to be awkward! Amen
by Cora Cantata
Beautiful – thank you for sharing!
Very good article.
This so perfectly describes “awkwardidity”. Thank you-especially for that last boost of confidence!
Wow, Cora – you really have a gift for writing, for the exhortative tone, for inspiring and spurring on! Thank you for this! You’ve really captured the airport experience well, too 🙂 I remember when I was returning home, with about a 32 hour trans-Pacific trip ahead of me, someone was just trying to be nice as we got on the plane, and asked what I did. I’m afraid I just couldn’t help it. I teared up and said “well… until about three hours ago… I was a nun…” Doesn’t get much more awkward than that!
Seriously though – that reminder that being awkward out in the world is a GOOD thing – I needed that today! It’s that little reminder that we’re not SUPPOSED to be feeling completely at home, here. Thank you!
A blessed feast of St. Therese to you and to your readers!
Thank you all for your words of encouragement. I am happy to know that my thoughts and feelings relate to yours and helped to give you a “boost of confidence.”
I love this post. Always been in secular world but I love the reminder to “keep striving for chastity, poverty and obedience according to our state in life”. I am also thankful for the reminder that awkwardness to the world can be a good thing.
““Sex, money and power anyone? No thanks, I could really go for a life long commitment of chastity, poverty and obedience…” What?”
LOL! I agree with “After Epiphany” that you really have a gift for phrasing things powerfully and succinctly. What a great post. Thank you for writing it!
What added to my initial awkwardness was having a nearly shaven head. I looked terminally ill or something. And I felt so exposed without a veil. My hair has grown back but I struggle with finding a hairstyle that respects both my femininity and my detachment from the world. Thank you for this article.
Even after all these years I am never really comfortable in the secular world. I kept trying to find a community to transition back into over the last 5 years only to find that no one wants an older woman. Through lots of prayer and my commitment to my canonical vows of poverty chastity and obedience, God showed me the path you had for me. on the feast of Christ the King last week I became a Benedictine oblate. one day a couple years ago when I was trying to explain how I view life and how I lived it I was told quote: but Carol that’s not American! my response to that is this secular world is not my home I am a citizen of heaven. I am that woman who prays, lives to be in service to my Lord Christ in the face of my brothers and sisters in the human family, who remembers to be thankful, and give her time talent and resources, while praying to grow in humility. I was extremely awkward in the beginning, especially with constant questions asking what was it like to live is a nun. some awkwardness has never and will never go away for when we take our Vows, we are intrinsically changed forever.