On age, wine, a nun’s cell, and what is it to leave

I am writing this post from a nun’s cell at the Mary and Joseph Retreat center just south of Los Angeles. There is a bed, a desk, a wardrobe, a sink, a night table and a lamp. I have also had several glasses of wine, from various bottles, all of them an unchilled white.

I have spent the last hour or so in conversation with four ministers, all of who are under 40, perhaps even under 35. This is an anomaly for me as a professional. In my Tuesday morning staff meetings I am joined by a woman in her late 40’s, two women in their 50’s, another in her 60’s and one in her 80’s. I am 24 and a Director of Religious Education.

After discussing veganism and radical culture and the pros and cons of having a pulpit to literally preach form (as well as the elephant in the room), I found myself discussing age, and how I make it a problem. Initially I thought the church would accuse me of my youth, and while that has happened from time to time, it is more a problem of me thinking I am not capable, with my shield of incompetence being my age.

What is it that makes us feel fraudulent?

Is it our age, our experience, our chosen path, our peers, our profession, our dreams – as we have lived or denied them?

I haven’t smoked a cigarette since Sunday evening, I haven’t watched TV since Sunday night. I have been eating yogurt and ice cream but not eggs or meat. For two days I have awaken to clouds and a light rain. I have used the internet once since Monday morning (today is Wednesday night) and I will not use it again until tomorrow night. Those around me remind me of my uncle, my mother, my middle school crush. The clock on my computer is stuck in a time zone that keeps this reality in the past.

What is it to leave the world in which we live?

What is it to tomorrow, leave here?

Published in: on January 31, 2007 at 9:37 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. This post really resonates for me, Rebka. We line up these personal/ethical/political stances and constantly judge ourselves by how well we measure up to our ideals. It’s about idealism, but it’s also about control. You ask, ‘What is it that makes us feel fraudulent?’, and so much of it is outside of us, it’s the ways we interact with society and try to distinguish ourselves. But so much of it is inside of us, now, too – so completely internalized. In a way it’s almost easier to say ‘I am responsible for what is false, it’s a failing in me’, because it seems smaller and more manageable. It feels less vulnerable. You are 24 and you have already rebuilt your world several times – it’s terrifying and also, I think, absolutely integral to the questioning, passionate, empathetic person you are.


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