history · lifestyle · religion · Uncategorized

Living our calling

This may come out as word vomit, but I have been pondering a topic ever since I found the documentaries on nuns I spoke about last time.  It has taken me this long to write, so bear with me.

Something annoyed me when watching these documentaries – the comments.

Now I know that we live in a world where everyone is spewing out their thoughts and feelings all over the place.  We now know how all our neighbours feel about Trump, gay rights, and we all know what we ate for dinner.  So it shouldn’t have annoyed me as much as it did, but I have been annoyed for weeks.

Most of the comments went something like this:  “their beliefs are stupid”, “they should be doing more with their lives instead of sitting inside praying all day”, or “they are wasting their lives”.

You catch the drift.

But the thing is – does it really matter what these nuns are doing?  The solitude, the prayer and communion with their god?  People have been doing this for thousands of years or more.  Many some people may have thought it was stupid even then, thousands of years ago, but I suppose we didn’t have the internet to tell us so.

We as a society, especially in the Western world, have been taught a set of beliefs that we are to live our lives by.  We all know them.  But these ladies aren’t getting married, aren’t having children.  They are praying.  They are taking care of each other.  They are learning about themselves and about the god they took vows to serve.

But we need to look at the bigger picture – this isn’t just about the nuns.  It’s about conforming to the standard mould we have been given.  Why are we as a culture so concerned about the lives of others?  I am not saying I am blameless.  I have definitely shared my opinions on things others were doing that I believed to be stupid or useless.  But is anything useless?  If you receive a calling in life, why not take it?  Why not use every bit of your energy to work on that thing?

Most of the humans I know are unhappy because they believe they need to be doing the opposite of what brings them joy.  And they then point out all the things wrong with the people doing things they love.  Lack of money, specifically.

In my opinion, these women – these nuns, they are brave.  They have stripped themselves from all possessions, from all pacifiers.  They sit in prayer and contemplation for hours every day.  They probably have seen the darkest places of their souls.  They can be who they are.  No makeup, no frills, no outside rules of conformity.

Perhaps we are to take a lesson from them.  Let’s strip away the superfluous in our lives and decide to live the life we want.  To play by our own rules.  To stop letting these invisible guidelines dictate who we are.  No one is you, no one can live your life for you.

And to those who leave silly comments on nun documentaries, maybe you could be doing better things with your time. 😉

Thanks for reading.

Jacqueline

books · history · Uncategorized

Recently Purchased Books – 1

Here are some books I’ve purchased recently.  I have been quite picky about the things I have been bringing into my life and was supposed to be on a “consumables only” shopping diet, however, these books slid through (how could I resist?).  And one could say that you do in fact consume books.

all bookshow to be a victorian

lunch in paris
I read this book before going to Paris for the first time and I own it on my e-reader, but since it has recipes I thought I should pick up the hard copy one day.  I found it on sale for only $6.  This book made me see Paris differently, I think. If you love food (and France), this is a lovely book.

suffragettes

The witches
I have started reading this book and the writing is beautiful and descriptive.  I already recommend it if you are interested in history and witches, of course.

What have you been reading recently?  What are your recently purchased books?  I’d love to know.

Thanks for stopping by.

Jacqueline

Historical Research · history · religion · Uncategorized

An Update – Research, Nuns, Jesus Camp

I have wanted to write here for a long time.  I pay for this blog and I have been neglecting it.  It seems an odd thing to do for someone like me – I have a lot of things to say.

I have been working on my writing in private and I have also been doing a lot of research primarily on the history of women, women’s lives, and religion.  Most recently, I have been fascinated by the lives of nuns.  The concept of faith has rung loudly in my ears.  Nuns seem to have this faith and I can’t put my finger on it.  Is it the joy, the simplicity, the trust in god?  So more research ensues.

I know it’s an odd topic but I love it.  Religion fascinates me because it is so ugly and so beautiful simutaneously.  It creates odd feelings inside of me.  I recently found this paper I wrote in my old bible case.  It was a page with a list of questions discussing my being “saved” and “accepting” of Christ.  It was weird reading it now.  I haven’t thought about god that way in a very long time – the concept of god changed for me before I hit my 20s and I have never really discussed to anyone except for my husband since.  I am not sure if I will dive deeper on that topic in a public space, but I may someday.

If you wan to watch something interesting (and not about nuns), I recommend watching Jesus Camp which is currently on Canadian Netflix.  This documentary gives insight into a christian (pentecostal) summer camp.  Basically, children are taught to be soldiers of god (political soliders) and they discuss faith, sin, evolution, and abortion issues.  There is a lot of fear feeding to children and I admit, it is a bit frightening.  Let me know if you have watched this documentary and how you felt about it.

I have a few essays regarding my research I hope to post soon. Until then, please leave me a comment if you have any suggestions on books, articles, or documentaries to watch pertaining to religion, women, nuns, or anything interesting!  I would be most grateful.

Jacqueline

Historical Research · history · Uncategorized · Writing

No Place Like Home – Introduction

no-place-like-home

It is odd really, diving into someone else’s life.  When I found this book (or the book found me) I realized I really didn’t know much about the past.  I’ve watched period films, read historical fiction and history books, but none of these things prepare you for what its like to read another person’s words, seeing their thoughts, feeling their struggles, their happiness.

It’s hard to block out your own voice while reading other people’s words. I kept questioning why this, why that.  I suppose that’s why I kept reading.  Our minds, in our current culture, I think, cannot fully understand or accept a lot of things that have happened or why life was the way it was.

The reason why I study history is because I want to sink into what it must have been like to be these women – a 12 year old girl, sent off to another country to be educated; a wife sent off to sea with her new husband; a teenager coming of age.

To me the most difficult part of studying these women was to understand their view of the world.  Where did their voices come from?  Their church, their schooling, their husbands, their families..

One thing’s for certain, the influence the church had on these women’s lives is undeniable  This has become a big part of my research of these women – what were their churches like?  Their ideals?  Was it a fear based worship or a hopeful one?  Obviously some of these questions answer themselves.  The depth of their worship, though, is something that is still very alien to me and because of that, I find it fascinating.

This book, No Place Like Home, are journal entries and letters from 15 women from 1771 to 1938.  I’ve decided that I will do entries regarding these women in pairs, showing further glimpses of their lives.  It has truly been a journey for me and I hope you enjoy what is to come.

Thanks for reading.

Jacqueline