Dear Pope Francis,
There are so many quotes about waiting and having hope. These are just the ones I have hanging on my wall:
- “When God closes a door he opens a window” (and the alternate: “When God closes the door, praise Him in the hallway”)
- “There is a season for everything… a time to grow and a time to reap” (Ecclesiastes 3)
- “Consult not your fears, but your hopes and dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with your failures, but with all that is still possible for you to do” (Bl. John XXIII)
- “Seek God in all you do and he will show you the path to take” (Proverbs 3:6)
Sometimes, like right now, I get very hung up on the waiting. I impatiently wait for the reaping time and anxiously search for the window.
As I was reflecting on the (many) times that God has been saying ‘no’ to me lately, I remembered something that one of my professors tells the class frequently. She tells us that very often people caught up on all of the areas where the moral teachings say ‘no’: no abortion, no contraception, no premarital sex. She challenges us to find the ‘yes’ in the moral teachings: yes to life, yes to the total gift of yourself, yes to the dignity of your future spouse.
What I find interesting in these, is that the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ are simultaneous: a pregnant woman can’t really say ‘yes’ to the life of her baby without saying ‘no’ to an abortion. The difference is where the emphasis is. It seems like a glass half full, as opposed to a glass half empty situation; will I emphasize what I’m affirming (life) or what I’m ‘losing’ (abortion)?
Now, I’m not necessarily saying that this shift in perspective is going to solve all of the moral debates that are plaguing North American culture, nor am I trying to downplay or trivialize these important ethical issues, but it was a revelation for me that maybe there are ‘yes-es’ co-existing with the ‘no-s’ I’ve been receiving lately. Being single means that I don’t have a boyfriend, but that also means that I have more time to cultivate meaningful friendships (or write, or exercise, or cook, or do school work).
As this school year winds down, I am beginning to look ahead to the summer and to some extent, the next academic year. I have been discerning, and receiving ‘no-s’: jobs that I will likely not continue and volunteering that will need to be significantly reduced. Right now it’s hard for me to think that I will give these up in the future, especially because I don’t know what window God is going to open, and I don’t know when the reaping season will be coming. I need to acknowledge these things that I will let go of, but I also need to be aware of the areas where He’s saying ‘yes’ right now: blogging for LTP, some other volunteer positions, having time for self-development, finishing up my degree.
It’s not always easy to focus on these ‘yes-es’, even though they are very life giving. Letting go is hard, even when I know that I am letting go of something that isn’t necessarily helpful or life giving. It is even harder when I feel that I need to be accountable to other people about why I am saying no. However, this is one of those times I feel like I need to hang on to hope even tighter while I search for the window and sing praises in the hallway
Singing loudly in the hallway,