Canonical Year. To see the difference of summer from when we first arrived is a start reality of how much time I've been here. With all the land that we have here at the Novitiate to plow and shovel, the frigid cold and the burden of snow is a stark reminder that our time here is not all fun and games.
For some, there is the desire to start marking off the days until Novitiate is done...similar to how someone might count the days until they're released from prison. Perhaps there exists some level of anxiety that parallels these two experiences. For me, there are times I just want to get home.
What is unique and telling about my life in discernment and formation is that "home" means something very different. For me, "going home" is about getting back to my province in the Mid-West, getting settled into the post-novitiate house in Chicago, and starting work on studies and specific ministries. The experience of working in the car business - spending long hours at work, putting in extra time to complete a task, etc. - is an example of who I am. I'm excited about working again (be it school work or ministry); I think I've started to find the balance from my old "Work Hard, Play Hard" mentality.
I certainly don't want to diminish the growth and prayerful experience I've had in these first six months (8, if you count the two months spent in Victoria, KS). I've read more about prayer, theology, spirituality, papal documents, Canon Law, etc. than I ever thought I would. The benefit of having the time to process all these different things as well as having the support and feedback of numerous friars is an experience that I can't truly convey in a single post. Six months into this life, and I realize that I will never have another year like this in my life.
So while I had a "Countdown Till Postulancy" years ago on my blog, I won't be counting the days until First Profession. I realize that this time is precious (even if I miss being away from my family, friends, and my province) and the best thing I can do as an aspiring friar is to soak in everything, learn all I possibly can, and keep praying for my and my brothers' vocations.
And in the meantime, we'll find new ways to deal with all the snow.