What These Literary Heroines Taught Me About Transition: A Letter from Alexa
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I’ve found the past four years since I graduated college have been a series of changes, moves, and career climbing. I went from a fantastic built catholic college community to back home where most of my childhood friends were married with growing families and I was just beginning my career. After discerning a religious vocation and much prayer, I now believe I am called to marriage, however that has yet to happen. So even though currently: I have a job that I enjoy, I am moving to my own condo, I enjoy pursuing my hobbies such as singing, reading, the theatre, I am an auntie, sister and daughter, I have found a great Catholic community to connect with, and I have time to spend with Christ; yet, it’s a challenging time in life. I am not quite in my vocation yet. It’s a season of transition. So I would like to remind any woman who finds herself in any kind of transition, that it can be a time of transformation.
During this time of transition the classic literature that my Mom so wisely gave me to read as a child, has been resurfacing in my mind. L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables for instance. The ever hopeful dreamer, who believes that the road ahead is not narrow but full of unexpected bends ahead. Even in the “depths of despair” Anne is quick to pick herself up and learn from her mistakes. She is transformed into a woman of greater patience and deeper love due to the periods of transition in her life. She reminds me not to be afraid of the future but, ever hopeful and trust in God.
Another character that comes to mind is Helen Hunt Jackson’s Ramona. She leaves the life of luxury she grew up in to marry the man she loves, and lives in poverty. Her life is a constant series of transitions, racial discrimination, and tragedies.
However, she transforms into a woman of great peace and joy that can only be achieved by courageously embracing every present moment as an opportunity to be transformed by love. She reminds me that no matter what may be going on in my life, I need to not just live in the present, but, fully embrace it as a opportunity to love.
Finally Jane Austen’s Anne Elliot is one of the most selfless, kind, patient and hopeful heroines I have read. For seven years she is in a time of transition trying to rediscover her path after being persuaded to reject the love of her life. Yet, Anne embraces the uncertainty of her life. She never falls prey to living in the past, or feels that she has ruined her life by missing her chance at love. This is something I love about Anne, she is not afraid that she missed a step in life, she takes life as it is, she acknowledges her mistakes but never plays the victim. Anne allows her years of transition to transform. She grows deeper in compassion by her own sorrow, she gains insight and wisdom from her mistakes, and she becomes confident in her judgement of character. Anne reminds me that I don’t need to wait for things to be settled in order to do good work and to love people.
So dear ladies if you feel like you are in transition remember, this is the moment in your story that can be your transformation. Transition is a time where we can be heroines by being transformed by Christ’s grace. I have learned that in the seemingly insignificant hidden trials and tribulations of transitions; Christ is transforming me to be the kind of woman who can share in His Heart, in order to spread His Love to mankind. So no matter where you are in life if you are striving to know, love, and serve God, you are exactly where God wants you to be. You are not just in transition, you are being transformed.
God Bless! Alexa
Get to know Alexa
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
My name is Alexa I’m 27 and I work as a Administrative Assistant in a University. I’m single and still can’t believe I am 27 like what the what? Sometimes I still think I’m 18 then, I hang out with 18 year olds and I’m like “oh no, never mind I’m old.” I enjoy my job and after growing up in the country I am enjoying all the benefits of city life such as going to plays, concerts, opera, cafes and classy restaurants. But, the noise and all the people is a little overwhelming to my introvert ways.
What do the first two hours of your day look like?
Well the first hour I hit snooze a couple times get out of bed and pray morning prayer. I then do a quick makeup routine and get ready in the outfit the night before (because that’s the only way I can look put together.) I then drink the elixir of life aka coffee, and always eat some sort of breakfast scrambled eggs, protein shake or something similar. Then the next hour is spent on a quick 20 minute transit ride to work (downloadable audiobooks have been a game changer on the old transit ride) and then I am at my desk beginning my day. Exciting stuff ya’ll!
Describe your favorite part of your current occupation.
I never thought it was a talent to be organized, then I became an Admin Assistant and realized I get paid for my innate desire to always be one step ahead. I like my job because it’s all about serving and helping others. I also see aspects of my job that I still need to improve on and grow into. Also I’m a dork and love spreadsheets.....it’s a problem Ben Wyatt understands my pain.
What's one fear that keeps you up at night?
Lots of questions swirl around my head like: Did I serve God today? Did I really seek to love others today? What sins can’t I seem to rid myself of? Did I make mistakes at work? Did I add up those accounts correctly? Was St. Augustine or St. Jerome correct about their ideas on the state of souls that are not baptized? How does Princess Kate always look so impeccably dressed and unearthly beautiful? Should I have bought that cute pair of heels? I digress, there are lots of big and little worries but, I try to hand it all over to God or pray to let go. As St. Padre Pio said “Pray and don’t worry.” But, seriously what is Princess Kate’s secret?
Tell us about the first time you experienced a strong sense of belonging in the Catholic Church.
There have a been a lot of experiences of belonging. I attend two fantastic Catholic Colleges that really reinforced the mission of the Church and the love of Christ. I got to study for a semester in Rome and the power of being at the home and head of our Church was astounding. However, if I was to choose one time I would say when I was 12 years old I decided to accept the abundant grace that God was offering me and really embrace the Faith as my own. I remember I started praying the rosary daily from 12 years old and have tried (and failed many times) to keep that habit alive daily. My Faith became a relationship with God instead of some vague ritual or rules to follow, it became alive for me. The mission of the Catholic Church became clear, everyone was meant to enjoy this peace and love I intimately felt, due to my relationship with God.
Tell us about a woman (or women) you look up to.
There are three women who have really impacted my life. First, my Mom she gave up a budding business career to marry my Dad and run his ranch with him. She sacrificed and patiently homeschooled five of us. She continues to be my rock of encouragement, kindness, and wisdom.
Secondly, St. Therese of Lisieux has been a dear friend to me ever since I heard about her when I was six years old. I know many people prefer the more dynamic and outgoing saints but, I preferred St. Therese because, she was relatable. Her little way has largely influenced my life. I don’t have to wait on a big mission from God to love Him, I can encounter Him in washing the dishes with love.
The third woman who really influenced me, is St. Edith Stein. I wrote my undergrad thesis on her writings Essays on Woman. Her work is so profound she is a true feminist. In a world that is continuously denying the best virtues in women, Edith Stein discusses the real natural virtues and vices inherent to women. She points out men and women are equals in their humanity but, they have different natural vices and virtues and that’s a good thing they balance each other. She taught women that the better they can understand their personhood and sexuality the better they can love and serve others. She also had a late vocation and was a super ambitious woman, she is pretty much da bomb.
Favorite character ever. Go!
Well I guess I said a lot of my favorite literary heroes but here goes another one Molly Gibson from Wives and Daughters. Molly is loyal and kind, yet she is also ready to speak her mind and is fiercely moral and upright. I feel Molly has the kind of character that is so superior that she is like a Christ figure. She takes on the burdens and defects of the weak characters that surround her especially in her step sister Cynthia and her stepmother Hyacinth. Yet, she is not a one dimensional character she is not just a goody two-shoe she is courageous and she feels things with great passion. At one point she tells Mr. Preston that she thinks Cynthia hates him as much as someone like her can hate. When he asks Molly what she means she replies “I mean I would hate much worse!” Bam! That sort passion is what can a make a person great or despicable, and when these characters choose greatness they are unstoppable . Molly is the kind of person I aspire to be, even in her greatest misery she never thinks about herself. She is always thinking of others and especially of the man she loves with a complete selfless love. I aspire to be Molly Gibson.