This post was originally planned for Monday/Tuesday. However due to unforeseen events that unfolded at that time, the issue of losing yet another postulant took a back seat, not only for my blog but in real life as well. -V
Saturday, another person decided to leave the Capuchin Postulancy. Unlike the last guy, this recent departure struck me as a loss to the Order, to the community, and to me. I've been processing this loss over the weekend. In many ways, dealing with it has been a grieving process.
The second guy from our province chose to leave about a week ago, during the road trip to New York. His choice was mostly ideological. Our province has always been the "liberal" province, even though I find little differences in my travels and experiences of other friars. Our house was also very "Democratic." I think he was the only one who was pulling for McCain during last year's election. He was also very ritualistic and legalistic, choosing to attend an Ukrainian Orthodox Mass on Sundays, rather than the several Capuchin parishes in Milwaukee.
In spite of these differences between he and I, he was a good guy, and a very close part of the community here. And there were times that I really felt that the fraternity would outweigh any political differences. However last week, during the ride home, he told us that he'd been questioning how he fit in with the province since he got here. And after truly trying to look beyond those differences, he felt he would do much better in a community more like him.
My first reaction was that of anger. Why would he choose to paint the entire province with this liberal label? Many of the guys have different views based on experience, ministry, upbringing, and their own values. I couldn't understand how one could assume "This province just isn't for me."
Upon his actual departure, I looked past my anger and told him the simple truth: that he would be missed, and that I still thought of him as my brother. I have a hard time with expression of feelings sometimes, and I think he understood that me saying something like that was huge. It was almost a teary-eyed affair, but like good, strong men we managed to hold back such things.
Since then, our community dynamic has changed noticeably. There is less conflict, less arguing, and less stress for a lot of us. I don't know if that means he needed to go. I don't know if that means we wanted him to go. I know that I wish he hadn't, as it has made all of us question our true intentions for being here in this program.