a. If you think that Religious life changes you, and is going to make you like certain things, this is not the case. Perhaps it's better if I say that habits change, but our nature does not. God's grace works with our nature. We become by grace what God is by nature. (Yeah, I've got a LONG way to go). I'm a perfectionist, non-conformist, politically incorrect, ridiculously introverted math and physics geek, lover of Catholicism and all things beauty. This will never change no matter how hard I try. I tolerate being up at 6 am, it doesn't mean I'll be a morning person. (I'm not, sorry the day will NEVER in my mind start before 10..it's no wonder they say that Religious Life is like purgatory)
b. It feels like yesterday, I just started in seminary. I really didn't know what to expect. Secretly I'm a lover of academics (total nerd status). Over the past few years though there really hasn't been much learning other than the straight out bashing of Catholicism by professors and the promotion of all things anti-Catholic and liberal. It was extremely frustrating because of it there were 2 classes I could never pass (English and History). Part of my mind was expecting the same thing, hearing various horror stories from some of my other friends who went to seminary in other places. (Idk if St John's counts as a seminary, lol). So to my relief when my studies started there wasn't an anti-Catholic agenda being promoted, I was able to relax and concentrate on learning and not having to defend the Church. I loved that. Granted, there are somethings in history class which I disagreed with, but those things in History class were rather disagreement with what happened in history than what's traditionally been promoted as history. In particular when we got to Islam, as someone who has taught math, what is often perceived as math history isn't quite what happened. (For example, the Muslims did NOT invent the zero...The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam, a MUST BUY book)...Which was funny when I presented this and got cut off :(...oh wells.
c. The guys are a good group, all of us are works in progress trying to get to heaven, by the grace of God. Even though for myself, I think there's a great balance that we're all able to co-exist in-spite of our varying opinions on issues. Somehow I'm the most right-winged person in the house, what a surprise. As they've quickly found out, I can EAT :D. I love the community. Even though as I've said before, community is not necessary for my function on a day to day basis, it still doesn't mean that I'm not called to be there. It's funny, most of my friends are older than me with a few exceptions. It's rather strange to be the oldest person in my class of seminarians. We all know how I feel about attention, and being noticed. (Which is odd since I'm religious now, I get more attention than ever). In short it's a paradox between all things.
d. Of course religious life has also pointed to the fact that there are certain wounds that do need to be healed. Believe me, the temptations to leave have been numerous. I've decided that I'm going to stick out the year regardless, and come retreat time, I'll find out one way or the other what I'm supposed to do next. Someone once asked, what would it take for me to leave? Effectively, it'd take a cloning of one of 3 people I know in order for that to happen. I will not reveal who these 3 people are. As I've said before, Religious life doesn't change you. The question is not whether I want a family, the question is does God want me to give myself to Him fully and in a deeper sense. Of course that I can't tell you at this point.
e. One thing that I've been reminded of is that I'm loved, by many people. Sometimes I tend to forget that. I've received many cards from people and I'm glad that I know these people and have made the many friends that I have made over the years. I'm forever grateful to Emmy, Megan, Rosanna, Janice, and my SD for putting up with me and my various rants over the years...esp this semester and this year as I've been going through discernment.You think this semester was bad, just wait until 18 units of fun next semester :D
f. A few thoughts I'll leave you with...
1. You may not realize how much pain you've caused by silence.
2. God works with nature
3. All things are possible with the grace of God
4. The story doesn't have an ending yet.