The Other I

May 3, 2008

How young is being old

Filed under: Life as a Nun — theotheri @ 4:11 pm

During the four days at Maryknoll, a group of us who had entered there fifty years ago gathered together and took turns telling our stories.  We were mostly in our late teens and twenties when we first met, but in those days we were expected to cut ourselves off from the life “in the world” we had lived previously, and so few of us knew anything about each other except for the few years we had spent together in Maryknoll.  Many of the stories were riveting.

One was told by a woman who is still a Maryknoll sister about falling in love.  In some ways it was not remarkable.  But falling in love is always remarkable.  When it’s happening to you, it’s earth-shaking, it’s unique, it’s something without comparison.  And the dignity and humour with which she told her story was remarkable.  She met someone, she fell in love with him, and her world exploded. 

Ultimately, she stayed in Maryknoll and returned to the missions.   But I think few of us felt anything but gladness for her that she had known what falling in love is like.  As I listened, I thought of the three times I have been in love with an all-consuming passion.  Twice I walked away.  Like this nun, I cannot regret the loss.  It is often part of the price that has to be paid to preserve the love and life one has.  But I could never wish I had never known it, and neither did she.

There is something else too.  It is how young one feels in an old body.  We were a group of women, the youngest of whom are approaching 70 years of age.  But what it feels like to be in love feels as fresh as it did at 20.      

1 Comment »

  1. Yes Terry Yes to your reflections here. I agree whole-heartedly: failing in love once is such a blessing, more than that is an overflowing of wonder. Like you, I fell in love 3 times (maybe 4, if I count 4th grade falling for classmate Jimmy Morris, who attended my high school Junior prom.) In poetry I’ve tried express some of what this “falling in love”‘s consequences….but am sorry to say, it scandalized some friends, though they never said so, their “actions spoke volumes.” And your telling of the Maryknoll sister’s personal story is so dear. thanks for sharing openly, honestly. love, Cookie aka Carolyn Grassi


    Comment by carolyngrassi — May 30, 2016 @ 8:00 pm | Reply

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