The Other I

July 5, 2009

From a young age

Filed under: Just Stuff,Life as a Nun — theotheri @ 8:07 pm

In the Cambridge Botanical Gardens this morning, I saw a girl probably about six years old walking with her parents.  She was wearing an academic gown.  It was a miniature version (or was made for a very short professor) but she wore it with the casual aplomb of an experienced member of faculty.

It reminded me, when I was just about her age, that I used to go to my bedroom and dress up in my self-designed nun’s habit.  As I recall, I wasn’t concerned about becoming a a holy person.  I spent too much time looking in the mirror reaching the conclusion that I might make quite a fetching nun.

Unfortunately, the first time I put on the authentic nun’s habit as a Maryknoll novice, my priorities had not altered much.  I remember heading for the nearest mirror and evaluating my image.  I thought then, too, that I looked quite attractive, seeing as I had to do without any make up.

At least I eventually decided that I did not belong in the convent.  Though it was not with a great deal of self-knowledge even then.  I left saying that I could not live the life I’d entered Maryknoll to live.  That may have been true, but my deeper motives at that point were still pretty well buried.

Yet, it is often possible in retrospect to see in children the directions that their lives will take.

I wonder about the girl in the garden today.  Will she become an academic?  or merely a clothes horse with a great sense of style?

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