Tomorrow, August 3rd at 7p.m. (Korea time), one month after my departure from the United States, the ceremony to reveal my placement school will begin.
Now, let’s go back in time.
Over 100 years ago, in 1800s France, there was a girl named Therese. You may recognize her as St. Therese of Lisieux, or the Little Flower of Jesus. At the age of three, she realized her calling to consecrated religious life. Finally, at the age of 15, after throwing herself in front of the Pope, annoying the heck out of the Bishop, and pestering the local Carmelite convent, Therese entered religious life as a Carmelite nun. With persistence, she willed to live out her calling as a consecrated service to Our Lord.
You may be wondering: “But Sarah, you’re not even Catholic. You’re not even a cloistered nun. You live in the 2000s. What’s Therese got to do anything with you?”
In her spiritual autobiography, The Story of a Soul, published after her death at age 24, Therese thanked God for not allowing her to have wild expectations for the consecrated life. She didn’t have ideas that life in a convent would be fanciful, overly holy, or even peaceful at all times. Rather, Therese found that consecrated life was sometimes dull and tedious – such as the real world. This cloistered haven didn’t shield her from the world, it was often an extension of tedious, daily living.
As I’ve said before, I’ve been informed that living abroad is an exotic experience, one I’ll remember for the rest of my life, as long as I live, and probably into all of eternity. This is true, South Korea is exotic in its own right, a place where heaven literally meets earth with the high mountains and copious fog. But Korea after all, isn’t an escape from the real world, it is the real world. It’s the land of everything beautiful, but it’s also the land of no expectation.
I pray that like St. Therese, I won’t have over-the-top expectations for my future school placement, home stay, and life in general beyond August 22nd. After 8p.m. tomorrow, I’ll know where I’ll be for the rest of the year. For now, I’m choosing to stay in the land of no expectation. It would be wrong-headed of me to believe that a perfect school, placement, or family is out there, waiting for me to drop my bags and burrow in for the remainder of the academic year. We’re in the land of no expectation my friends, and I expect it to remain that way.
Good early morning America and geon bae from a different kind of south,