This was a gift from my goddaughter Colleen many years ago. Today is her birthday -- Happy birthday, Colleen!
WHAT I'M READING
For anyone contemplating reading this book, I strongly recommend that you check out this web page. About the time you get to page 13 of Night Listener, the reason wny will make sense to you.
That's it for today!
THE COURAGE TO CHANGE
16 January 2001
January 16, 2001
Throughout my life I have not been a courageous person. As I look behind me at the path I have trodden, I see lots of "mighta beens" and "coulda beens" and "roads not taken." I had the adventurous spirit, but never the courage to follow through on it.
In high school, I decided I had "the calling" (all kids in catholic school imagine they have "the calling" at some time or other). I was the one on whose shoulder Gods hand had rested. I was the chosen one. I had A Vocation.
I suppose all little girls at one time or another imagine living in a nice serene convent, wearing flowing gowns (this was the days when they still wore habits), and bopping obstreperous kids over the head with rosary beads. I wasn't going to take the veil; I was going to take the wings. I applied to and was accepted by The Daughters of Charity. Gods geese. Picture the Flying Nun.
The date of my entry was set: September 13, 1960. The time from high school graduation to entry was spent taking what was supposed to be "one last trip"--with my mother and grandmother to Hawaii. I also bought my trunk and began filling it with the trousseau for my new life, wedded to Jesus. The bride was to wear black. With each purchase, I began to be scared of leaving home forever. I was not having the proper attitude, I realized. I wasnt giggling with prospects of my future, I was looking at woolen undies and imagining a St. Louis summer. I was trying desparately to learn how to curl my own hair, since my mother had always done it for me and the first six months I would be without a veil. I was trying to spend the last days with my boyfriend.
This is not the mindset of someone who is excited to be turning her life over to God.
In the end, I chickened out, deciding at the 11th hour not to go. Plane ticket in hand, days away from departure, and I caved. It was too much of an adventure for me, and I wasnt ready to change my life that much. (There were times much later, raising 5 children, when I would think "I could have been in a convent now!")
I entered UC Berkeley instead and started trying to adapt to a campus the size of a small city, when Id come from a high school with a total enrollment of 200. This was the 60s. Kennedy was in the White House and there was an air of hope that we could feel.
The Peace Corps was started. I was filled with idealism. Id sponsored children through Foster Parents Plan before and this would be my big opportunity to actually go to a poverty area and really make a difference.
I sent for the papers and began to fill them out. Then I began to think of the problems I would encounter, I wondered if I was even qualified to be chosen, and ultimately I set the papers aside and I never applied at all. Ive always regretted that decision.
But I was busy studying French, my major. It was my dream to spend some time in France and really immerse myself in the language. I knew a priest who had spent time at the Newman Center in Berkeley and decided to write and ask if he could possibly get me a position with a French family (cleaning, of all things--this was a long. time. ago.) He responded enthusiastically and asked when I would like to come, and promised that he would, indeed, be happy to help me follow my dreams to France.
But I thought of what I would be giving up and I feared the unknown and once again, I took the safe path and stayed behind.
Many years have passed and throughout those years, when faced with a major decision that will involve a life-altering event, I have generally taken the safe road. I have often looked back, somewhat wistfully, and wondered what it would be like to be adventurous, to say "the hell with it" and make a decision simply because it offers me the opportunity to be a better, happier person. Even if there is a major change involved, what would it be like...?
Well, Im nearly 58 years old now and Ive made a lot of those "safe" decisions. Ive watched life pass me by, now and then, and Ive finally made a decision that its time to come out of the closet as a courageous person. I am going to follow my dreams. I am going to become the person I am supposed to be, even if its going to involve some awkward moments and some difficult adjustments. I am woman. Hear me roar.
I decided to let Lynn pick out new frames for my glasses for me.
Now to you this may not seem like much of a major decision, but for me it means giving up the frames Ive had for 20 years. Giving up what I know as comfortable and familiar, and putting my life completely in the hands of someone else, trusting that she will not let me down. Someone I love and trust, to be sure, but it was still a terrifying prospect. Would I like them? Could I adjust to them? Would I miss my old frames? is this really what I wanted to do...?
it was up to Lynn to determine what to buy. Because, you see, I am blind as a bat and without my glasses, I cant see well enough to see what frames look like on me. (Heck, I cant see my glasses without my glasses, so have to find them by "feel" in the morning!) So all these years, its just been easier to say "Just put the new lenses in the same frames." When I picked these frames out years ago, my vision was better and I could make the choice of what I liked, what I could live with. But now--I must rely on the kindness and taste of friends.
Peggys complained that I need a more modern frame. Lynns complained that I need something that will open my face up more (scary prospect!). So today was The Day....Be a lion, not a mouse...
But we both agreed that these were winners:
After that, she insisted on a haircut, so we both had a cut. "Be brave and daring," she said and told the hair cutter to chop it all off. In the end, we posed for a picture (wish I had the new glasses,but they won't be ready for a week and a half yet). Katie, age 5, had her hair cut too:
These weren't major, life altering changes, but I did trust someone to help me make some decisions. It took a bit of courage. We do these things in baby steps. Maybe next time I'll have the courage to make even bigger changes.
(But I probably still won't become a housekeeper for some family in Paris.)
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Created 1/7/01 by Bev Sykes