By Mary Rose Kreger, republished from her shared blog Monastery in My Heart.

Eight years ago, I was a young novice, Sr. Mary Inez. I spent 19 months in the convent before realizing I was called to a married vocation. Today I am a happy wife and mom, but re-entering the world was a great struggle for me. Here is a poem about my experience:

 

Once outside the convent

You still long to be inside it

The white curtained walls

The ancient creaking floors

The silence and the song.

 

He drew me in and I followed,

Hungry for the final Word in treasures—

His secret gaze pierced me, pleaded silently:

Come.

 

I left everything to find Him,

My home, my job, my family—

Stepping out of the boat into the deep waters.

In return, He gave me the Cross,

That bitter cure-all for a thousand ills,

But also a taste of Heaven.

19 months in His garden, and then He says,

“Go home and tell your family all that I have done for you.”

And so I do. I go home and tell of

The white curtained walls

The ancient creaking floors

The silence and the song.

 

Six weeks later, I meet James,

The man whom I will marry

Whose birthday is Christmas like

The First Beloved of my heart.

We work and we play, we talk and we pray.

We are married, find a home,

Have a son, then a daughter—

Make friends, lose friends.

Die a hundred tiny deaths, and

Rise a hundred times again.

We share our lives together.

 

The Lord makes us new—He kisses me

With James’ touch, and embraces me with

Lukie’s arms, and gazes at me

With my daughter’s eyes.

He still wants me, even if His rose was

Never meant to stay in His convent garden.

 

No, rather to struggle and labor

In this world, pretending to fit in

When my heart has been spoiled for anything

Save Him.

On the outside, endless motions,

Movements of faith, hope, love—

And grit and survival, too, for this

Long journey is hard.

On the inside, a tiny-heart-home,

Always longing for the white curtained walls,

The ancient floors, where I first saw Him.

There, I tasted heaven once—

A darkness that was Light—

And I can no more return to my

Heathen ways than a child to her

Mother’s womb. I tasted heaven once, and my

Heart is ruined for anything else.

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