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Persisting Contra To God’s Will
I remember very distinctly when my idealized vision of my life in my twenties came in curt confrontation with the reality of my situation. Whereas most people during this time are getting started in their careers post-college and working their way up the ladder, meeting people to match up for a future together, and buying their first house, I was going in the opposite direction–quitting my job, giving away everything I owned, and buying not a house but a school bus to live in.
For ten years–from the age of 19 to 29–I wanted more than anything to be a monk. Not just wanted to be a monk, but wanted to be called to be a monk. The pursuit of what I thought was a calling seemed like a noble one–not from a worldly perspective of course, but from a spiritual investment standpoint. Objectively, I had “chosen the better part.” And so surely it must be God’s will because it was what I wanted, what I thought I wanted.
When I actually did apply to be a postulate at a contemplative Benedictine community after my observership was completed, and was turned down, I was crestfallen. As an alternative, I decided to go the “DIY monastic” route and bought a school bus to convert to an urban hermitage where I would eat, sleep, read, and pray in monastic fashion. I worked for weeks outside of my apartment as my lease expiration loomed. I removed the seats, built cabinets, bed, and desk, laid flooring, and had everything set (except a place to park it). When I actually got down to the quasi-monastic life, though, I realized something–I was not happy.