Three 20-something women trying to figure out what it means to be lay, Catholic, and modern all at once.

April 20, 2009

Quarter Life Crisis??

Have you ever heard of the quarter life crisis?? You know, the one you start when you are graduating college and trying to figure what in the world you are supposed to do with your life?? Well, I started mine just shy of my 25th birthday (so a little over a year ago -- I'm on the cusp of 26 by about 33 hours!)

At that time, I was struggling to figure out what I wanted to devote my dissertation topic to, something that a year later I am still working through. I fell in love, and I mean IN LOVE with a man who said he couldn't date me, but still hung out with me all the time. And I was suddenly confronted with just the truth about everything I had done in my life. I was face to face with all that I had sown, and I had to ask what did I sow? Have I sown good or evil? I was face to face with everything in me that is flawed. And I began to realize the ramifications of my flaws on other people in my life. I began to see how failed relationships had been largely my fault, how I hadn't maintained communication with people who meant something to me, how I hadn't set the proper limits to relationships or had severely limited my relationships with others. I knew I had to change, but I became so down on myself that I just was in a...well...crisis. I felt like God didn't care, He probably didn't hear me or understand--which is totally bizarre because my strong faith background has taught me the opposite. So why did I feel this way?

And then, I started dating that man I fell IN LOVE with, and we are still dating. And I thought maybe my crisis would work itself out. And to some degree it has. I don't think I'm in my quarter life crisis anymore, but I have been having some 'life crises' that have rehashed some of those same struggles. That's why, my sisters, I've been remarkably absent from the blog.

I'm getting through it and I know that my struggles are good, but the crisis is not of God. I've resolved to consider this time a period of growing pains. It's not easy to realize and to confront your habituated character flaws. Moreover, you feel so overwhelmed and consumed by them. You actually get mad at God for making you this way!!! And even moreover, you begin to feel like you are just utterly unlovable. (Or at least, I did). But I went to confession recently and was unleashing my anguish to this very old Polish priest (who personally knew JPII). He said in a thick but absolutely beautiful Polish accent and with a joyful tone, "Maybe you just need to ask Jesus to share this load. That's all He wants to do."

Wow. How simple. I thought, "Yeah, maybe that really is all He asks of me." Maybe the answer to my 10,000 kinds of crazy complication is really just to give it to Jesus and trust that He loves me. I think I got my answer in a passage from Pope Benedict XVI's recent book Jesus of Nazareth . He has a section on the meaning of the Gospel message regarding the Kingdom of God. He gives several interpretations, but this one resonated with me. He quotes ancient Church writer Origen's mystical interpretation of the Kingdom of God:
For in every holy man it is God who reigns [exercises dominion, is the Kingdom of God.]. . . Then let God stroll in in us as in a spiritual paradise and rule in us alone with his Christ." (Jesus of Nazareth, p. 50)
So simple, but what an idea upon which we should meditate!!

1 comment:

louis said...

Happy Birthday Edith!!! Just wait until ya get ta 3/4 life crisis!!! It's wonderful - 'cause although ya feel like life has passed ya by,and ya never wrote that novel, and your bank account never swelled to the levels that ya thought--- it's ok because ya forget about in 5 minutes 'cause your memory is almost shot !!! I am gleefully awaiting my "almost the end of life" crisis, which should arrive in about a week. My, my, what wonders await me there. Ciao.

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