From sorting out many of my worldly goods, I have realised that I'm a bit of a hoarder when it comes to things with sentimental value. Given with love, before now, I dared not cast aside those items that represent love. For someone like me, with a poor memory, they have been a reminder of those who have shown their love for me and expressed their affection.
I have come across cards from my First Holy Communion, birthday cards from the age of 10, letters from pen-pals. I've been unable to throw all of them away and I debate over whether I should.
One of the reasons I perhaps should is to avoid pride, as some of the expressions of affection towards me could indeed make me proud. Secondly, I don't think I can take these things into Carmel; the point of my going is to leave all things behind, so that I can focus on my relationship with Jesus. Would then, these things become a temptation for looking at the past (which during times of difficulty, always looks better), would they become a form of escapism in that case, or demonstrate my inability to look forward? On the other hand, is it right to cast aside displays of affection that one has made towards me?
These are things I seriously have to consider on my journey.
Having thought about this, I recall how the disciples Jesus chose immediately left their families, their jobs and all of their belongings behind. They depended on the good will of others to feed them at times. Perhaps in my pursuit of holiness in going to Carmel, I have to do the same. What a sacrifice to make to the Lord, saying, "Lord, these things mean a lot to me, but I leave them behind for You." How pleased He must be that to save ourselves from any form of pride, we get rid of those things that can cause it (for me, this was leaving cards, which I received when leaving a job).
So instead, I will take with me to Carmel the memories of those dear to me, as well as their intentions. I will put each person I love before the Lord and ask Him to bless them. Surely this is a far greater expression of love than to hold onto physical items, which I cannot take with me when I die. As for taking them to Carmel, they will only serve as a distraction and where does it end?
Saying this, I have kept some cards back that my parents gave me, as they may wish to keep them. I've decided to put a little box aside with things in that they can choose whether to keep or not once I have gone. Therefore, I leave as much as I can behind; some things for others; some things not. But what I do take with me, is those I hold dear in my heart.
- Carmelite Aspirant
- I've just turned 27 and am entering Carmel on 24th January 2009. My first full day will be on 25th January, the Conversion of Saint Paul, of whose year this is and whose school I went to and sisters I loved. So I am depending on him to help convert me into a good Carmelite! I've wanted to become a nun on and off since the age of 11. Although I can't remember the moment I felt drawn to Carmel, I think it was partly because of reading about St Therese when I was 11 or 12. I feel I may have a natural inclination towards this way of life, altough getting up at 5.30 will not feel natural, I'm sure! I spent 2 weeks as an Aspirant in October 2008 and I loved it and came back feeling that I should go back and see if becoming a Carmelite is the Will of God and my route to holiness.