Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I just wish people would talk less and listen more

I have had a very stressful and emotional evening tonight. My head is still pounding from all the things that went on here. This evening my family went to get our portrait taken for our parish directory. I really do not like going in and getting a portrait taken. It always seems fake to me, and I feel really awkward holding all the poses they tell you to hold. I prefer taking my own pictures with a digital camera.... those pictures are more natural to me than portraits anyway.... As my family is posing the woman tells us to smile and act like we always get along... Inside I had to really fight not laughing sarcastically at that. I love my family, don't get me wrong. I would not be who I am without them. Sometimes, though, I have to remind myself that I really like them too......
I swear if it is not one thing going on with my family, it's another. I feel as though there is always a constant "huge" drama going on, and if I don't see something as a big deal like my mother or sister does then Lord, help me. Almost immediately there is a huge debate over whatever it is I do or don't agree with. I just get tired of it. I really really cannot wait until I have money to get out of here and do my own thing and think my own way without worrying about pushing someone's buttons the wrong way. I feel like I have all these thoughts and opinions about a lot of different subjects, but I do not voice them here at home mainly from the fear of someone jumping down my throat and trying to get me to change my opinion. Yes, in some cases I may be totally out there, but I wish there was another way people in my home could tell me that without a huge fight commencing after I open my mouth. To avoid those types of fights, I usually just keep my mouth shut. It's not worth arguing over everything to me.
Tonight my family got in such an argument over rules of most convents versus those in the majority of seminaries. My sister and I have noticed with a lot of different convents (not all) that the rules for the girls that enter there are much more strict then those of the seminary. Girls are usually expected to end all communication with the opposite sex unless they are family members, whereas men in the seminary (I have been told....) are encouraged to be with the opposite sex to make sure that they are following God's call. I just do not really understand why the seminaries are much more relaxed about the men communicating with women, and then the convents are much more strict. I have a hunch that if convents were more lenient about communication with the opposite sex there probably would be more interest in becoming a nun.
I happen to have a lot of close friends who are practically like family to me, but if I entered certain convents I would not be able to communicate at all with those people. That is one of the many many things that I just could not let go of.
My mother was not at all happy with how my sister and I felt and let it be very known she was tired of us putting nuns down. The truth is I was not putting nuns down. I just wish I could understand why if it is ok for seminarians to be around women to help make sure they are following the right call why most of the convents cannot let the young women do the same with men. I was not trying to put nuns down at all. I truly respect all the amazing women who have been able to follow God's call and leave behind so much, they are way more courageous than I could ever be.
The problem about fights in my house is that it seems to me no one wants to listen to anyone else's views on a subject and then it gets so loud with everyone trying to talk over each other that nothing is accomplished but giving everyone a headache. It is so frustrating to me. I hate conflict, and that is why I try to keep my thoughts to myself.... Blah!!!!(bangs head on the key board).


Suzanne said...

There are times that I wish people would listen better also. The problem has only worsened lately because our family is older and have so many of their own ideas which do need to be heard, but as I try to get speak I am often ignored and people talk over one another.

The story concerning the "nuns," goes back a long way. The reason I have become defensive is because long ago someone (I believe it was Maria) got it into her head and told you and Crista that I only wanted you all to become nuns. Not only that, but cousins were involved and people laughed and jeered at such thoughts. The thought of becoming a beautiful sister was put down long ago by several we know who only learned about them through movies like Sister Act..which btw, I enjoyed some of, as you know. Still, the fact remains, I never said those things nor implied that. I only wanted my girls and my son to learn more about all vocations and have their hearts open to them all.
Let me also make something clear, I don't think you put actual nuns down..I think though, that you and your sisters do have a difficult time with the concept of someone loving Jesus so much that they would give up their very life for Him..they want to be His spouse...they look at living a full life in a different way than many other women, and yes, if you don't feel that right now or ever, then that is not your call. If I could ever be allowed to say a complete paragraph before being interrupted and laughed at and assumed that you and your sisters know exactly what is going to come out of my mouth next, then you would have heard what you just now read very clearly.
Let me repeat...I only want for my children..male and female to live the call that God wants for them BECAUSE to live any other call, they will not be as fulfilled nor will they be able to please God as well. God does not mind if you wish to marry or become a nun, a priest, a single..what matters to Him is that you do it well and give Him all the love you have to give through it. That is what I want for you and all of you.
I only do not wish to discuss things about nuns any longer in our family until people can be willing to hold a conversation without it getting out of hand and very old ideas keep popping up.
I do feel that gets disrespectful after awhile and I am only defending those sisters and brothers in our Catholic Faith who have chosen this call for it is a difficult road for them at times and you know that.
With regards to how things are handled with the sisters and the priests, etc., I too, may actually agree with you about some of that and you would have heard that too, had everyone not been so loud. Nothing holds a girl to the convent..there is no ball and chain..she is free to stay or leave. Many girls simply are ready to do something that some cannot fathom and for whatever reason, the rules are just as they are..it is so much about obedience, I would suppose and discipline and in some ways, our family could actually learn some of that from some of those little sisters...like how to not speak so much out of turn.

Anyway, I am sorry that our family is frustrating you so lately. Believe me..I think it is just that it is time for many to be on their own..there comes a time, but what hurts me the very very most, is that any of you would leave frustrated and angry and sad. I have never wanted anything but to have a reasonably happy family and that when you leave, you leave with a glad heart but one that knows that has good memories and who takes away the strengths and good things learned..not the negative. I hate all of this being aired out on this blog, but you placed it on a public forum and I feel that this should be clarified somewhat as it was a bit misrepresented here maybe because you couldn't hear what I was longing to say). One day I hope that all of you truly come to realize that I did not set out to put you in a particular box...maybe one day...
I love you...no matter what you are called to do..just remember that..no matter. Mother :)

Mike said...

"Tonight my family got in such an argument over rules of most convents versus those in the majority of monasteries."

Only in the McConnell household! haha.

(I know, it's no laughing matter...but I had to point that out:))

I feel for you, because I know how these discussions can go, especially when you're in close quarters with someone. It's not a happy place to be.

Anyhow, one point of clarification: men entering the monastery have the same rules as women entering the convent. Before they arrive, they must give up all possessions and promise to live a celibate life as novitiates. They are not to leave the grounds to figure out if this is their call or not. The assumption is: if they're here, they've had time to do that already.

If after their time as novitiates they feel this is what God wants of them, they make the vows of poverty, celibacy, and obedience for life.

Anyhow, since I, for instance, am a seminarian, I am not bound by those rules. The thought is: we are not going to be living in a religious community (like a convent or monastery) for all our lives, so we need to excel at human relationships with everyone.

That said, we would get in trouble for leaving to "sow some oats" or something like that. We are not here to discern as much as to be trained to be priests.

Things are different for college seminarians, because they're on a normal college campus...except Catholic. They have more freedoms than the rest of us.

Anyhow, I'm rambling...sorry!!

Teresa said...

I meant to put the seminary in my blog instead of monastery.... I should probably go back in there and fix that. I was not totally thinking about what words I was typing in this one... I didn't even do a spell check so who knows how many typos are in this one......

Suzanne said...

There is a clarification again with regards to some situations with sisters and convents because many do go out into the world to teach, etc.,
so they they are not in the convent all the time either, such as where Kate has gone. One day she will be going out into the schools and teaching. They don't really change convents though, like a diocesan priest moves around to different parishes...maybe she would teach at a different school, etc., but so, like Mike said though, they probably have thought out ahead of time what they want to do, but still a sister can leave the convent, however, a priest is meant to be a priest forever.