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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Monday, September 03, 2007

My Big Convent in Heaven.

You can well imagine how discombobulated people become at the mere sight of a nun. They often manage to sputter out some kind of question or two about what it's like to be a nun.

People often sputter out inappropriate questions when they are surprised. They ask stupid things. For example, I once witnessed a lady at the grocery store grilling a young woman right there in the pickle aisle about the young woman's two children who were crammed into the shopping cart. The lady was amazed that the young woman had two children so close in age, a boy and a girl.

"They look like they could be the same age!" she exclaimed, as if it were any of her business in the first place.

"They're twins," the young woman replied, lifelessly. Sometimes, if you narrow your eyes and speak with no inflection, people buzz off.

"Oh!," the lady said, clearly relieved that there was some explanation that soothed her mind about this baby factory and her cart full of babies. "Are they identical?"

The most tedious questions I must field on a continuing basis have to do with the fact that I am married to Jesus. There are earnest questions. "Do you where a wedding ring?" "Why are you called a 'bride of Christ?" And then there are the slimy, insinuating questions. "If Jesus is married to all nuns, doesn't that make him a polygamist?" "Aren't you jealous?"

In answer, I narrow my eyes and intone, "Do you think you're going to heaven?"

"Yes," they say, "or at least I hope so!" (Unless they are born again Christians. Some of them have told me they are already penciled in for a spot in heaven.)

"Just you wait, then, " I say with a wry smile. I pop my eyes back to normal and clomp away. Nun shoes are fabulous for clomping away. The clatter of the giant wooden rosary hanging from my belt underscores everything nicely as well, I must say.

Which brings me to today's comment from a reader during our discussion for pets in heaven:

My concern when I get to heaven isn't about any pet - it's about my husbands. My late one and my current one - geesh. I hope they don't fight over me!

You can relax, dear reader. They won't be fighting over you, because all three of you will be married to Jesus once you are in heaven.

Are you polygamists?


Hah! (I'll confess that later.)

There are no marriages in heaven
except everyone's mystical marriage with Jesus. You'll be yourself but you won't be 'boys' or 'girls' anymore, exactly, so it's all okay. You'll be happy to see your loved ones who have made it there and you will see them, but you'll all be busy together loving Jesus. You'll be able to do all this without having to worry about missing an anniversary or sending a check for your nephew's graduation and then having to stew because he not only didn't bother to send you a hand written thank-you note, he didn't even email that he got it.

I digress.

When people ask me how I can stand to be a nun, to give up the things I've given up, I think about heaven. I won't have cable TV there either, I won't have a human husband or children that are mine, just like now. I won't be drinking Gin Ricky's or eating pate, all of a sudden. I'll have my own body in heaven, but I won't eat because I won't have to. I'll still be a girl but it won't matter.

And don't think for one minute that I don't know what everyone's really talking about when they mention "what I've given up". I know. I won't be doing that in heaven, either.

And neither will you.

So what I really mean when I narrow my eyes and flatly say, "Just you wait...." is...

"....because being in heaven is just like being a nun."

Clomp, clomp, clomp.


Melanie said...

how interesting of a blog entry!

Anonymous said...

When I see a nun which is rarely, I usually stare in awe and wonder why I wasnt called to a more spiritual life. Bless you Sister Mary Martha.

Anonymous said...


BTW, Anonymous, you are called to a more spiritual life as we all were created by God for God and eternal happiness in Heaven. Be a good singleton, spouse, parent, and do all things for God whatever your station in life. It's not easy, so PRAY continually.

I am in awe of His love for each of us. Thank goodness God loves us!!

Clomp, clomp, clomp - bless you!

Laura Michele said...

SMM, Do you have any advice as to how I should find a spiritual adviser, or a good starting place to find one?

Therese said...

A friend that is consecrated once said to me that when she realized that God was calling her to be a nun she didn't feel awful or like she was giving up a family or husband. She felt gratefull and honoured that God asked her to be in this kind of special relationship with him. She was chosen by the king of kings to be his bride.

Anonymous said...

Do you sing to yourself "these feet were made for clompin'..."???

Anonymous said...

I just read "Ninety Minutes in Heaven". It's one man's personal experience of dying and staying dead for 90 minutes. He gives a very vivid account of Heaven. He's a Baptist minister. Good book.

Michele said...

i just love your sense of humor sister! very refreshing!

EC Gefroh said...

You are so funny Sister!!!

Anonymous said...

You have a very good (and funny) point, Sister, but I don't think we're going to be dusting pews in Heaven.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sister,

Great post today! Why do you suppose people react that way to nuns or sisters? I don't understand it. When I was a child in Catholic school during the sixties, I loved our nuns. I used to wish I could hang out with them in the convent. I still wish I had been called to be a nun but, even though I have the poverty and the chastity down pretty well, I'm still working CONSTANTLY on the obedience. Do you know of any orders that accept fifty year olds?

Here's a dumb question for you. How do you feel about the gifts you receive from your students? My mother always insisted we give our teaching nuns pretty handkerchiefs with embroidery or nice smelling soaps or good stationery or good chocolates because, she said, nuns didn't have the opportunity to buy nice things for themselves. Is that true? I was afraid the teacher would be insulted to receive soap. It seemed like I might be saying she needed to take a bath or something.

Oh, and about the shoes, we had an art teacher who wore black high top Chuck Converse sneakers with her habit! She couldn't clomp. She was my very favorite nun! She carried around a little clown made out of circles of colorful fabrics that made up the arms, legs and trunk. I used to think of her as "the renegade nun." She once won a cake for me at the May Fair cake walk!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the smile today!

Ebeth said...

What's a Gin ricky?


PS: Thanks for the giggle! We homeschooling moms have a similar problem. People who look at us with sceptical eyes and ask things like, "How can you stand being with them all day, every day?" or "Don't they get on your nerves?"
Now, our shoes don't have clompability, sneakers just squeek.

WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

Great post Sister thank you. Plenty of bed time story for my teens here. The little ones get Elmer or Stone Soup etc while my big ones get me reading this blog to them!

And Ebeth-I agree, there must be a gap in the market for homeschool mum clompers.LOL

Unknown said...

There are plenty of good reasons to be nuns. Its a way of life after all, isn't it? I wish we had more walking around in the habit these days. RC or Protestant.

But try and have some patience sister. It is a life of mystery for many people. I too work in afield that really is a mystery for all those who are not directly involved. And yes, its a 24 hour a day kind of life, not a 'job,' perse.

People just don't understand because they just don't know anything about it. Explaining might be difficult, but try. Maybe you'll inspire someone to do the same!

BY the way, why would all be glad to be living with Jesus? He's cool and all, but what about God himself?

Mayogi said...

I just found your blog and I will put it among my favorites.

Thanks for a great post sister! When I was younger I wanted to be a nun, but since I was raised in a non Christian environment things were a bit complicated. Now I know God had another plan for me. I truly admire all Sisters. I have a very dear friend here who's a nun and I know what a hard work it is. Since our congregation of Catholics here in Morocco is very small we all have a special bond. Please keep us in your prayers, because being Catholic in a Muslim country can be tough sometimes. I guess it's like being a nun in the US, just without the clomp, clomp, clomp.

Wendy said...

Jesus is God. True God and true man.

Anonymous said...

Mayogi, I will also keep you in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

If you're not Christian but you follow Buddhism or Islam. How can you be married to Jesus when you die and enter heaven?

Who is to say that there is anything BUT heaven?

Myself I KNOW there is a God/Allah/Buddah who has no gender as stated in the Torah/Old Testament
I too know there is a place we all go to.
I also know, within the core of my being that there is no hell.
That place, heaven is within God's heart and love and God would never ever send anyone to a place so often referred to as hell, because
God is All Forgiving
God is Love
God is Compassion and those are God's teachings.

I think that is why I never followed Christianity because it's full of contradictions.
I do love my house of worship :)

Anonymous said...

This was wonderful! I'm so glad I found this blog