Saturday, March 05, 2005

a time to mourn

a friend asked yesterday what i have been doing in terms of preparing for ordination to the priesthood. interestingly, the first thought that came to mind wasn't the hundreds of little bits of odds and ends on my to-do list. instead i blurted out the same thing that somebody else had told me when i had asked him the same question years ago: "i am in mourning."

perplexed, he asked "mourning for what?" i told him exactly what i have been going through these past few weeks. i am mourning for the children whom i will never have and meet; mourning for a spouse, a lover, which i will never have; mourning for the family life enjoyed by so many.

it helped little to be reminded that "children", "a spouse," or a "family life," are all in store for me as a priest in a spiritual sense through the community and the people i will serve. this is true. and i am looking forward to a life with my spiritual family.

however, this is a time to mourn my family out of my own flesh and blood. it's the physical that i am mourning. and these days i began to feel the door to it shutting definitely. it hit like it never did before. no love to ever fall asleep with, no son of my own to feel proud of, no daughter to admire. and growing old alone, without loved ones to take care of me when i am old and frail and cold. i would have to depend on the kindness of hired help or the community i am in.

as a teen, during my greener years, the thought of such sacrifices sounded easy to me. age perhaps has an effect of making me more mellow. it certainly has an effect of making me more in touch with feelings for intimacy and companionship.

i was told it's best to stay here for a bit and feel this deprivation. but i have a feeling this sense of loss will be with me throughout my years of ministry, perhaps not as intense as the present. in that case, being at peace with this is important if i hope to live out this calling fully and happily.

so, my friend understood, and i am glad he did. the conversation went smoothly soon after he stopped "consoling" me, not that i needed consoling anyway. but it really was comforting when he realized that the time to feel the joys of priestly life is still out there in the future for me. today however is a time to mourn.

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