Last week Friend A and I were at Friend B's house. During our time there, Friend B told us that she had something she wanted us to know. She proceeded to tell us that her eldest daughter (I believe around age 20), is now engaged. Well, Friend A and I knew that she didn't have any kind of boyfriend, so Friend A said, "What, did she meet him last week and now they are getting married?" My first thought was, "Oh great, they've gone and signed her up to be some mail-order bride!" (Don't ask)
At this point, Friend B let on that this was not an earthly spouse she was engaged to. OOOOOHHHH now we get it: Her eldest has been discerning a vocation to the religious life and has been working on entering an order of Dominicans, maybe as soon as this fall. Well, that makes more sense, as we can all see that she will make an absolutely wonderful nun.
Later on I got to thinking about that idea of this being an engagement. In my mind, engagement meant about a year of total chaos, stress and financial turmoil (as well as excitement, of course:) I stopped to think about it in the light of a religious vocation and I conjured up a much more peaceful image. I began to imagine this as a time of getting to know your future Spouse better, of prayer and peaceful time spent discerning whether or not you are called to spend the rest of your life with Christ.
Why not carry that thought over to a married vocation? Shouldn't the engagement period be focused on getting to know your future spouse better, spending time together in prayer and peace trying to discern whether or not you are ready to spend the rest of your life together? Instead it seems to be focused on getting a lot of stuff done to prepare for that one day, instead of spending the time preparing for the lifetime part of it.
I'm hoping that this new outlook on the engagement period will help me down the road when my children start that process, for whatever type of vocation they are called to. Hopefully I can remember to help instill into it a sense of prayer and peace so that it does not become the often stress-filled time I remember it to be.