My Biggest Plague, Is My Greatest Desire
“Woman naturally seeks to embrace that which is living, personal, and whole. To cherish, guard, protect, nourish and advance growth is her natural, maternal yearning.”
– St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)
I was looking at my last few journal entries, thinking, what is the best way to catch up to where I am now, without leaving out a whole lot for you, my reader. And I found one constant circulating theme. Love. Or at least, what I, and the majority of people my age, view as “love.” I’m 19 years old, and I’ll have to admit, in the grand scheme of things, I don’t know a whole lot about love. Not really. But in the past few months, I’ve learned more about love, by not being “in love” than when I actually was in a relationship.
How can I learn about love when I’m not in a relationship? Well, I’ve been struggling with getting over the pain of falling too fast for a guy last semester. If you’re a girl, I’m sure you’ve in some way experienced this. I can’t speak for you gentlemen, but I’ve talked to so many girls, and I’m included in this, that start “talking” to a guy, and they just think he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. Why do we do this? Why do girls so quickly jump at the most minute chance of a relationship? I was floundering in my feelings as I got over one guy but felt the pull to dive right back into liking a new guy, overcome me. It was sickening in a way, honestly. Feeling like I had no control.
I suppose I sound like a typical teenage girl that just wants a relationship, to have one. But my frustration doesn’t come from that. I’ve come to be happy and content being single, being able to enjoy my friends and not having to dress up for a special occasion with my significant other. My frustration comes from something much deeper. A longing that I have, and have had for years. What I want most in life, is a family. I want a husband, and children, and together we make a family. I desire this more than anything, and where my frustration comes in, and what I’m constantly asking God about, is why do I have these feelings, and it seem like, guy after guy after guy, would never meet the expectations that I know God would hold for any man in my life. Why do I have to struggle to find a guy who will not only accept my values, but uphold them himself. Who will have a love of God just as I do.
Maybe it’s my generation and the age we’re in. I go to church and I see so many happy families and couples, but I’m one of the few there who are my age, and none of the others are guys. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’ll find a godly man while out dancing if I can’t even find one while at church.
And the frustration boils over from there. Because, I desire a family, I desire the love that God intended between man and woman, and even though I know I’m not finding a guy that will truly give me that connection, I’m still willing to give him a chance. But this frustration has led me to really look at myself, and what I really think love is. And that’s how I’ve learned more about love now, than I ever did when “talking” to a guy or actually dating one.
While continuing my readings from “My Sisters the Saints” I was introduced to a new saint, whom I’d never heard of before, but has changed my outlook on life, and love, completely.
Also known as St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Edith was born in 1891 to a Jewish family in Wroclaw, Poland. Young Edith became an atheist by her teens and pursued an education in Philosophy at the University of Göttingen. Not until 1921 would Edith discover the writings of St. Teresa Avila and be moved to converting to Catholicism on January 1, 1922. What really struck me about Edith was her writings on women, and how Colleen Campbell looked at Edith’s writings to redefine for her, what it meant to be feminine in the Catholic Church. To me, I found Edith’s writings defining what it meant to be a woman created by God. Her explanation went back to Genesis, and showed how God’s creation of man and woman set the standard of each sex’s vocation. And each sex’s struggle.
Edith writes in her essay, the “Vocation of Woman”, that a woman’s nature is determined from her “original vocation of spouse and mother.” She observes that women follow their emotions, the deepest desires of their heart, because they crave nothing more than to give themselves to another and in turn, be given that other to them wholly. I’ve read over her “Vocation of Woman” and I find myself in each true description of woman. I want to give so much of myself to other people, I forget to give to me. I work to make other’s happy constantly, I don’t look at my own needs. And I also see how my nature as a woman can be corrupted, because in wanting to be a part of everything and everyone, I become nosy and want to gossip. It’s the fault in my vocation once sin enters the equation. Becoming aware of this doesn’t change the fact that I still want to gossip, but it does make me think twice about it. It also partially answers for me why I give myself over so quickly to my emotions that I fall unreasonably fast for any guy I talk to.
So how have I learned about love from any of this? I’m still pretty in the dark about my love life here on earth, but, I’ve taken Edith’s writings and chosen to apply them to my love life with Christ. I’m working, every day, little by little, to improve my relationship with Him. To use my vocation of wanting to give of myself so purely, like Mary did when she accepted Christ into her, that I too can accept Christ within me. Because no one can make me more whole than He can. That is the greatest love there is in this world. And that’s the love I know I was created to truly yearn for.
1 John 4: 18-19 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because He first loved us.
Frances Boggs is a Freshman from Marysville, Ohio. She is double majoring in History and Young Adult Education.