If you happened to look at the post time, it is not a trick: it's almost 5:30 AM when I'm writing this entry. I got back into Grand Rapids an half hour ago, eager to leave the city because of bad weather.
After a long day of visiting different ministries in Wisconsin, we got back to St. Clare's Friary around 10:30 CST. The thought was to take a long siesta, wake up Tuesday morning, and have a leisurely drive back to Michigan. Unfortunately, I learned about the ice storm headed right for Chicago, threatening to make any driving treacherous.
I have a meeting in 2 hours with the other pitbosses of the poker room. I was hoping to tele-commute this morning on my drive back, however I was told "...it is very important that I attend the meeting." After saying my goodbyes, I hopped in my car around midnight local time and drove back to Michigan. Oddly enough, I don't feel tired at all.
The inclement weather was also an excuse: I needed time to think about the past few days, my interview, and where the next step was for my life. Not only did I have a host of paperwork to hand in, but I began to outline my autobiography, a requirement from everyone applying for Postulancy.
Yet just like leaving a job interview, I became frustrated at the memory of that three hour discussion. We talked about my history, my faith, my family, my medical condition, all the while the vocation director was furiously scribbling down notes while I talked. Maybe I should have said less? Perhaps I should have said less about my mother?
It was a rough ride home.
Next to me lies the packet of material I must also turn in for my application: transcripts of all my schools, doctor/dentist/optometrist exams reports, an affidavit notarized that lists any debt I may have, numerous release forms for personal background checks, updated baptismal and confirmation records, and a disclaimer page, stating I've never pretended to be a priest, had sexual relations with a minor, or participated in a murder or abortion. There's more here, but you get the idea. After taking a humbling look at the past mistakes of my life, I must gather more information than any college would ever ask for.
I can't help but sound cynical. I've had nothing but encouragement to apply and see what this call towards religious life might really be. Yet when I actually take the first step, it was like taking a pie in the face in front of a crowd of people. Humility didn't explain the experience; I felt shame. I'm no good to call these guys brothers.
I know I should trust in God. I know there are men with far worse sins that have gone on to do greater things. I know that God forgives, and I should accept his forgiveness. Yet I still feel as if I'm not the person they're looking for; now that they really know me they'll toss me aside for sure.
On the way back, I started thinking about my prayer life, my confessional life, and perhaps I haven't been living up to my obligation as a Catholic. Perhaps my worries aren't about the Capuchins, but my critical view of myself not doing everything I can to improve my relationship with God.
So this week, besides working on the first term paper I've had to write in 13 years, I'll be working on me. Besides just writing an autobiography, I can start to better build my spiritual life in the right now and prepare myself to be an instrument of Christ.
Maybe the bad weather wasn't such a bad thing. It seems I do my best introspective thinking behind the wheel.