To the Woman Who Feels Alone in Her Vocation - A Letter from Sabrina
A Note from TCW
To the women who often find themselves in isolation -- as a wife, as a mother, as a single woman, as a discerning woman, as a religious woman -- overwhelmed by the path set before them, we hope this letter serves as encouragement for the journey. Thank you Sabrina for reminding us of the importance of spiritual & physical sisterhood in vocation. And for also reminding us that we are never alone, but a part of an age-old, lively & diverse sisterhood of Catholic women.
To learn about The Catholic Woman's Sisterhood theme for this quarter's collection of letters, click here.
(Click to enlarge photos)
Let’s cut to the chase: I’ve found, in recent years, that being a wife and mother can be extremely lonely.
Okay, wait. Let me back track.
First things first: I was born and raised in Southern California, met the man whose rib I have in college, married him at 25, and had our daughter at 26. I love cold brewed coffee, old books, hanging out with friends, really good craft beer...hanging out with friends WHILE drinking really good craft beer…and I love being surrounded by others. I thrive on social interaction, can strike up a conversation with almost anyone, and can go from zero to one hundred on the emotional scale faster than anyone I know…and I’ll tell you all about it too.
Transitioning from “single” to “married” and “childless” to “mother” wasn’t hard. People were always around for those moments, whether it was helping to prepare for the wedding, assisting us in moving to our first apartment, or perusing the internet with me to figure out what to put on our registries. It was while I was on maternity leave recovering from an unplanned C-section, watching my husband leave for work one morning, not having spoken to anyone aside from my daughter or my own reflection in a few days that I felt so alone.
Among my immediate circle of best friends, I am the first to be married, I am the first to have a child, and I know that through all the milestones and transitions, I am loved and cared for in more ways that I can even count. That said…I am still isolated. I’m the only one who plans her day around a daughter and husband, hangouts based on childcare availability, and if we all attended the same mass, I’d be the only one in the church’s cry room chasing a toddler, trying keep her from throwing her Goldfish crackers all over the carpeted floor.
The biggest consolation I’ve found rests in contemplating the humanity of our Blessed Mother. Who better to emulate? Who better to ask for guidance and strength? I expect that through her journey of Motherhood, she experienced many of the same struggles and challenges as most mothers do, and in that, also experiencing many of the same joys and receiving many of the same graces. I don’t doubt that she sought counsel from other mothers and friends, and looked to the Heavenly Father to provide her with the courage and strength to face each day. I think of her, and I feel peace in what it is that He has called me to do and what to be.
Now, you’re probably wondering… "that’s all great Sabrina, but…uh…. what about your loneliness?” Here’s where my friends come in:
I can say, with conviction, that I’ve been blessed with the most amazing best friends. Not only are they forgiving and understanding of what my vocation demands of me, but they also lift me up when I feel like I’ve fallen short. They will be the first to challenge me when I’m convinced I’m “right” and call me out when I refuse to concede, and at the end of the day, despite my flaws, they manage to choose to love me over, and over again. They encourage my marriage, adore my daughter, and more a part of my “extended family” than I can ever explain. While life (and God!) has put us all on different paths, I know that at the end of the day, they will always be there.
Sisters in Christ, I pray that you open your heart to a few things: embrace your vocation. Know that there is a beauty in the struggle to live out what it is that He has planned. Also, look for the positives in negative situations. Perhaps my loneliness isn’t rooted in always being by myself, but rather in that I have so many people who I love to be around. Lastly, be forgiving to yourself when you don’t meet your own expectations. Allow yourself to be lifted, especially when you falter. Those who love you will gladly step in and help. I mean…not all of us can be Super Mom.
Mary already has that covered.
Get to know Sabrina
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
My name is Sabrina, I’m 28 (though on some days, I feel like I’m going on 50), and currently, I’m a wife, a mother, and work in a physical therapy clinic as a scheduler and insurance-benefit verifier.
What do the first two hours of your day look like?
While I’d love to say that it’s spent in deep reflection and prayer, it’s not. It’s actually more like me getting myself ready for work, and my almost two year old, who acts more like a sullen teenager when woken up for daycare. After an 20 mile, hour long drive (southern California traffic, need I say more?), during which I usually listen to an upbeat praise and worship station on Pandora.
Describe your favorite part of your current occupation.
Which one? I kid. As a wife, it’s going through the “ups” and “downs” of marriage and reaffirming that my husband and I will always choose one another. As a mother, it’s watching my daughter blossom into a vibrant little toddler who, no doubt, is going to give me a run for my money when she gets older. As far as working? I love that it’s something that’s for me. It might be work, but it’s a mental break away from the hustle and bustle from home, and gives me a second to recharge.
What's one fear that keeps you up at night?
Not being “enough”, in every sense of the word. I’m worry that I’m not a good enough wife, a good enough mom, a good enough friend, etc. Fortunately, I’m blessed with people who try to reassure and reaffirm me when I need it most.
Tell us about the first time you experienced a strong sense of belonging in the Catholic Church.
I’m a cradle Catholic, but didn’t really start delving on my own til 2013. I was helping out with our parish’s confirmation retreat. It was during adoration on the second night, when I watched 200 teens give their burdens, their sorrows, their pain, over to Him, and opened their hearts to our Lord. I’d never been more sure that God had me exactly where he needed me in that moment. Four years later, and while my involvement with the group has dwindled since having our daughter, there will always be a special place in my heart (and calendar!) for the annual retreat.
Tell us about a woman you look up to.
Aside from Mama Mary, I really love St. Joan of Arc. The idea that someone as young as she was able to listen to where the Lord wanted her, and did something as dangerous and daring as leading the French army during a war is admirable.
Favorite character ever. Go!
Amy Farrah Fowler from the Big Bang Theory…and Sofia the First.
I’ve got a toddler and watch way too much Disney channel. HAHA!