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To Be Young

Just finished reading Kathleen Norris The Cloister Walk, the book that inspired my decision to live with nuns. A friend of mine recommended a chapter out of the book for me many years ago. She was reading the book for a theology class at Boston College, and a particular chapter on the “otherness” young artists feel. It was such a powerful chapter that I went back and read the whole thing. This time I underlined passages to reflect on later in my writing career.

Norris is full of wisdom and possesses just enough irreverence to keep me reading. Today I had a realization about why I’m drawn to certain mediocre spiritual writers over others who are unarguably geniuses. I’m not calling Norris a mediocre writer, by any means. However, I realized any spiritual reading I come across that is void of confession, no matter how brilliant, doesn’t hold my attention. This is no doubt a sign of my youth and immaturity. Reading older, wiser writers who focus too much on healing and spiritual bliss are at a phase of life I can’t relate to. As insightful as I like to pretend I am, let’s face it: I’m only 24. I relate better to pieces about hangovers, promiscuity, and self-destruction than I do about enlightenment. I especially enjoy art that combines such things.

I felt a moment of impatience, wishing I could have wisdom now, which made me laugh. Wanting immediate results is the opposite of wisdom. It was a reality check, reminding me to stop taking myself so seriously. I need to appreciate the phase of life I’m at–naivety, out-of-control passions, and all.


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