Friday, May 11, 2007

Craving order

I'm really starting to loathe the media. It's sad, because I actually generally think the anti-media hype is stupid. But this thing of constantly shocking people is ridiculous.

I just watched a segment on TV about young women taking vows in a strict religious (christian, not that it matters) order. WHY would they do such a thing? WHAT WOULD DRIVE THEM to sacrifice a future of love and family? WHAT KIND OF RELIGIOUS PASSION goes into such a dedication? Oooh, it's so shocking and weird!


It's not weird.

Any 20 year old ought to be able to tell you it's not weird, actually. I did it. I felt it at 15, but I couldn't face telling my parents, so I did nothing about it. What was I considering? The military.

Yeah, I know, it's weird. But I thought about it. I never figured out there were recruiters to talk to, or it probably would have been a done deal. I had NO IDEA how the military thing worked. But I knew this: Once you join, all the answers are their answers. You no longer have to come up with your own, and in fact, you're not supposed to come up with your own.


I think any sane person who stays in the military finds some reason, some purpose. It might be "I'm supporting my family," and it might be, "well, who else is going to tell me what to wear?" but when push comes to shove, young people who join the military do grow up.

And I think sane people who join a religious order go through something of the same. They develop a sense of purpose. It may be twisted and weird to us, but given they've been living in seclusion, it probably feels like it makes sense.

In both groups, I think quite a number started, by and large, here: Wow, I have no purpose, and I have no power, and my current course of action seems so.... meaningless. If I do this other thing, no matter WHAT I do, people will honor me for the choice I've made. My life will MEAN SOMETHING.

It's seductive, as I've said. Especially since you have to make NO personal sacrifice to have it. Yeah, yeah, the show I was watching talked about how these young women had to "give up" their relationships... and I cry, "bullshit." Relationships are HARD. Show me somebody who doesn't think so. Talking to other people is hard. We all know it. I know people who've totally DITCHED other people just cuz they can't be bothered, cuz it's too difficult, because other people have expectations, ugh. So what do you give up when you join a special little nunnery? Oh that's right. You give up...

...all responsibility.

100% of the time, your decisions are made FOR you, by somebody else. You never decide. God has made your decisions, or the order has chosen for you how to relate to God. You're done. The clothes you put on in the morning. The food you eat. The books you read. The time you have to talk to your parents. Decision made.

The show picked on young women that were educated, like education should somehow negate religious passion. Education doesn't provide security, especially for young women. But a religious order?

All the certainty in the world. There will no longer be questions. You'll be safe forever.

I think there's some of that for the soldiers, especially the young soldiers. I understand the financial decision, and I certainly understand the lure of the culture (a little bit of unabashed socialism in an otherwise capitalist society? shoot, I gotta say, I love the military when I'm here in the States). But for some people, I can't believe they AREN'T swayed by the certainty. Here, the rules are set. You do what they say, and you'll be taken care of.

There are no questions.

No wonder this country is so religious.


1 comment:

Mote said...

Geez, Bekbek, couldn't you have used the words "stool" or "bowel movement?!?!" ;-) You've developed such a potty mouth since you moved to the States. ;-) Actually, come to think of it, you've always had a potty mouth. Can't blame that one on Georgia! ;-) I think it all steams from the fact that you weren't exposed to enough bacteria and worms as a child. ;-) I, on the other hand, ate worms and bugs by the handfuls! ;-)

Anyway, I enjoyed your blog, Bekbek. Keep up the good work!


P.S. Please say hello to the Georgian summer for me! :-)

P.P.S. I'm addicted to these :-) emoticon thingies!