Saturday, January 28, 2012

Knitting my Vocation

Maybe you're like me. I don't think I'm particularly crafty. My closets are stuffed with fun crafty projects that I never finished but refuse to get rid of in the futile hopes that I will complete them someday: t-shirt quilts, scrapbooks, anything with ribbon. And yet, I really believe that I will learn how to knit and cross stitch and quilt. And sew. And garden. Plus eventually I want to be the most granola, homeschooling mom ever. You know, all those ambitious dreams little girls have.

"Dreamer" by Куликов И. С. (Unknown) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

These desires form the backbone of my idealized self, the woman I long to be. Sadly, when I think of that vision of myself, I think I see more what I do, than who I want to be. Before my desire to be the consummate crafter, I was the perpetual student. I used higher education like some people use drugs or casual sex:  to "find" myself. Despite being Christian, I still believed my fulfillment would come through my work mostly - my secondary vocation. And since after each degree, I couldn't find a job that really made my heart leap, I thought I needed more preparation, more school. I had forgotten the words of Blessed John Paul II that "man cannot find himself except through a sincere gift of self."

Many couples naturally draw their identity from their children. The formation of children is a sanctifying work, and the more we pour ourselves out for them, the closer we draw to Christ who gave Himself totally for us. Yet because Tom and I have not yet been blessed with children on Earth, we don't have this to draw from. We are working out our salvation as a couple, learning to love one another with no third party to remind us of the sacred and sacrificial nature of that love. It is, I believe, more difficult than one would imagine. It is easy to sacrifice for one's children, or at least, I think it is easier, than to sacrifice for one's spouse. To serve a sweet sleeping baby becomes idealized in my mind, whereas my all-too human husband is constantly challenging me with his humanity and concupiscence.

My identity comes from God, who has given me a husband to form me in the school of love. Becoming a knitter, quilter, or gardener, a lawyer or theologian, will not allow me to avoid my primary vocation as a wife; it will not provide me the depth of satisfaction or joy that I get when I truly give of myself to love my husband.

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