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Nuns, etc.

March 15, 2011
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I got home in time to catch the tail end of Oprah today. It appears as though the show had a variety of guests, and one of the sets of guests were some nuns from a Dominican convent in Ann Arbor, Michigan. For the first time the nuns allowed TV cameras into their convent to record some of their new recruits and some of their long time residents in the process of becoming nuns. I mention this because 1) I have always loved nuns 2) the ladies spoke about what it was like to give up all of their worldly possessions. Some of the women they showed were young, between 16 and 22, but a few did not decide to become nuns until they were in their 30s. The common denominator is that in order to join the convent the women had to agree to give up all of their worldly possessions. They literally abandoned the material world. I admire their ability to do this because I struggle with the material world everyday. In fact one of my biggest struggles in moving out here has been a struggle with materialism. I was talking with the 403b man today at school. He recently moved “back home” after working in a large city for several years. Although he is originally from a rural area, he had become accustomed to the convenience of living in a more populated urban environment. We talked about how, when you live in a large city, running errands can take half an hour– you don’t have to allot a whole day and a full tank of gas to get things done. I’ve never been a big shopper, and when I have to do it or need to do it, I want to do it in a timely manner. So I find it quizzical that I miss things like walking around Target, or going to Whole Foods or Central Market. It makes me realize that I am more materialistic than I want to be. Even if I hardly every buy anything, finding comfort in places that sell things is a type of materialism. Which brings us back to the nuns. They give up everything. Their parents actually take home with them the clothes that the girls wear to the convent on their first day. They own no possessions, no property. Some of the ladies who joined the convent went from being homeowners to people who didn’t even own the clothes on their back. I know that possessions and property don’t equal security, but they equal the illusion of security, and it is a hard illusion to see through. Therefore today I am striving to be mindful of my place in the world, and that my security is not in the clothes on my back or the property I own. I am mindful of a power that is infinitely greater than I am. As one of the nuns said, “If you don’t believe in anything bigger than yourself then you can never do anything bigger than yourself.”


One Comment leave one →
  1. Mitzi Moore permalink
    March 16, 2011 9:18 AM

    Being in a store, surrounded by merchandise, excites me, too. But I tell myself that it reinforces my non-materialistic side because I am REJECTING the urge to make multiple purchases. I look around and say, “It’s just stuff.”

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