In my lifetime two priests have told me I should be a nun. Neither priest was high on drugs at the time of the suggestion, though I have my suspicions. Would I make a good nun? That’s not the right question, because I’d rather be so many other things besides a nun, like a cactus or a jar of liquid soap.
The first incident
Relevant facts: I was in eighth grade, attending a “Catholic” school (in name only) where my teacher was a protestant. Yes that’s weird. As a result, I grew in my faith and knowledge to combat the obvious wrongness of having a protestant teacher in a Catholic school. These days I’m sure I’d be labeled and intolerant bigot, but whatever.
Nun-otherwise: The priest in question was a close family friend, who was also a notorious prankster. He had a ring which shot water in the eye of a close admirer. Not kidding.
Nun’s the word: The priest, the music minister and I go out to lunch. Reasons? Can’t remember, because it was 18 years ago. So sue me. In conversation the priest states: “I think Courtney is going to be a nun.” To which I replied: “No, I want to procreate.” Yes those were my exact words. As true then as they are today, some 18 years later.
The second incident
Relevant facts: It’s December of 2013, and I’m 29 about to be 30. Working full time and driving two hours a day. Stressed to the max, and confused about God’s Plan. Because so far, the Big Guy hasn’t been giving many hints.
Nun-otherwise: This priest favors bluntness, and in his off time he hunts bears and elk. He also CrossFits. True story.
Nun’s the word: I asked, “Father, why am I not married?” Because I told the first priest 18 years previously that I wanted to procreate, and thus far I hadn’t meant a man with whom to get down and boogey. The priest predictably replied, “Maybe you should be a nun.” Again my answer was a swift “no.” In my mind the no was preceded with a certain effective expletive, which I kept to myself. I call that “manners.”
Before continuing, it should be stated that I think nuns are fabulous women. I also think many Catholic women have thought, “I’m still single, should I be a nun?” I’ve had the thought from time to time, too, especially after Father Number-One and then Father Blunt-But-Not-That-Helpful both pitched the idea. Except when one stumbles upon their God chosen vocation, there’s supposed to be a kind of “Ah ha” moment of peace and serenity, not a desire to either find the nearest cliff and jump from it, or drive into the wilderness and commune with tree frogs (frogs just get me). Which is why I told the second priest “No” way on earth, whatever your smoking is special stuff, keep puffing it.
But it’s not just the paralyzing sense of dread and shaking my head “NO” so aggressively it threatens to detach from my spinal cord. I have good reasons not to be a nun.
- My off the charts introversion and occasional misanthropy. Nuns, like rest of the populace, run the personality type gamut. But nuns, I assume, have open, loving hearts. My heart is protected by a ribcage made of bone and razor wire. Oh of course I love people! But I do not love broadly, I love specifically, making a large non-family women-only living situation hell on earth. It was hard enough living with my sister for 18 or so years. If I were to become a nun and live in a convent with other women, I expect about two to five years later I’d be put away for 25 to life for the first mass-murder in convent history. I don’t know your honor, there must have been something in the porridge. And I don’t eat porridge. Allergies.
- I’m proud of the dark, twisted ideas my mind concocts. I try not to use the word “really” as it’s lazy, but really. I’m really proud of my twisted mind. When people admit they find me or my imagination a bit scary, I feel warm and tingly inside my razor wire-protected heart. I’m not sure that’s what a convent is looking for in Sister Mary Courtney. Most convents are probably seeking a woman with a generous spirit, not a woman who has joked about knocking over a bank.
- Sarcasm still isn’t a recognized vocation. Here’s how I see this one going down. Sister Mary Catherine asks Sister Mary Courtney if she wants to join her on a fast for mental and spiritual clarity. Sister Mary Courtney replies, “Yeah, sure, then let’s go to a Chippendales* concert and pray for our perpetual chastity.” Sorry, I just don’t remember a time when I thought my best thoughts on an empty stomach. I know, I suck.
- My inability to take serious things seriously just because someone told me it was serious, because I’m sorry, that’s not a good enough reason. Exhibit A: The bishop stops by for dinner and we’re all in our habits. Mother Superior is kissing up to the bishop by way of commending him on all his accomplishments and how she’s such an admirer, when someone (ahem) starts making farting sounds. It was the cheesy burrito we had on the way to the Chippendale’s Purity Concert.
- You’re doing it is wrong. My way is better. I’m an INTJ female, which means I am the mother effing unicorn everyone thinks they are but aren’t. One of my
strengthscurses is wanting to improve systems, and an inability (and unwillingness) to participate in something I deem disorganized, inefficient or just plain stupid. It’s why I’m also not working for the government and I struggled with corporations. Them: Courtney, this is just how we’ve done it for years. Me: That’s not a good enough reason to keep doing something inane. “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.
And there you have it. The top five reasons I’m not a nun. Reasons six through 108 are all about dreading the prospect of just the idea of being a nun. And my love of weaponry. And needing to eat chocolate. And not sharing a bathroom. Also, because I still kind of like the idea of marrying a man and having babies… I know, I’m so not with the modern times.
*I say Chippendales because it’s recognized as a display of man flesh. However I think I’d prefer to see men competing, say at the CrossFit games, or just regular weightlifting. Or chopping wood and making fire. Maybe dashing out of a burning building in a fireman’s uniform… Yeah, I’d make a great nun.