|Behind the wall in Gaming, Austria.|
During that summer I decided that I should also revisit my own discernment of whether I was called to religious life. I prayed a lot about it, and eventually I spoke with a nun that I had known in high school. During the last conversation that I had with her, I came to the realization that while the call to be the bride of Christ was beautiful and wonderful and so, so attractive, it was not where I was being called. My heart was still being drawn to M, and I felt that it would never stop tending towards him. I was right.
|The Kartause where we lived, studied, and prayed. Of all the places in Europe, this is one I'd love to be in again.|
|We took a lot of pictures of each other.|
|But few of just us. So here we are in Spain.|
|This path around Gaming was a favorite haunt of ours together and separate.|
The most significant trip of our semester was when we went as a study abroad program to Rome. All of the students in Franciscan's Austria program went on a school sponsored 10 day visit to Rome and then Assisi. In Rome I finally worked on overcoming my desire to be next to him whenever possible. We would go on walking tours of the city and I would often stand next to M. Yet, I slowly stopped myself from doing that. I resisted. I also had several emotional meltdowns while praying in Rome (we went to daily Mass as a school and had daily prayer times). I cried a lot, and was so thankful for my good friends who supported me in my weepiness. A few days into the visit in Rome, I noticed that while I had not gone to stand by M on our walking tours, he was starting to stand by me. See the difference? He was seeking me out. Then we went to Assisi for a couple of days, and again I was successful in resisting my desire to be close to him; I even enjoyed spending time with other people and letting go of my anxiety about the waiting. I do not know why I found it so hard to wait.
|The view from the hermitage outside of Assisi.|
Thanksgiving was few weeks after our return from Rome and Assisi (which we did through the mountains in a snowstorm), and there was a Thanksgiving Ball after the dinner. A few days before the ball, M asked me if I would dance a most of the dances with him at the ball. I immediately said yes, seeing his desire as a good sign. Then I slowly realized that I did not want to just half be his partner at the ball, I wanted to either go with him or not dance with him at all. So, I went to his door, knocked on it and told him so. (I have never been subtle with guys I suppose.) And to my surprise, he immediately asked me to be his date for the ball, and I, in my astonishment, accepted him.
|It snowed in the mountains the night we bussed back from Rome.|
|These are the very pines.|
We spent our last 20 days in Austria as an official couple, free to spend time together without fear of impeding M's discernment; he had chosen to pursue a relationship with me. We had chosen it together, and as we went back to American I joyfully anticipated our future together.
And I can't really stop here. I will have to tell you the rest another time.