My Secular Habit

Most people who don’t know me would see my new religious fervor as nothing more than an odd symptom of my bipolar diagnosis. But, those who know me, know I have always led a somewhat unintentionally religious life. It was buried in the sands of our modern times


The Mission District, San Francisco 2009

and I blended in – almost. I think my dressing like a grandmother may have tipped a few keen observers off, but I was just dressing the part. I was the old soul. And my floral print with a cardigan and granny shoes was my secular habit.

For me heaven is more about returning to paradise than the fall from. So, flowers always felt more appropriate to my heart than a cross. I’ve never really liked the cross and that could be why I have fallen from grace as I have.

Lord, let me suffer or let me die.St. Teresa of Ávila – I agree that suffering produces its own rewards and I gladly accept punishment for my sins, but I do not want to be here solely to suffer. I would like to be refined by the sufferings and live to see the light of day. And I have faith I will yet. Mother Dolores Hart attests, “There is no doubt that suffering teaches us compassion if we let it, and compassion is the deepest source of strength we can possess.” This I like. I would like these trials to make me into a great comforter. One that may not have seen the same sufferings as you, but my heart feels the same pain as yours.


The East Side, Austin 2017

“One cannot get the slightest comfort and pleasure without having to pay for it, and every pain has its own reward, though few seem to realize this. Therefore behind all this falsehood and injustice we see that there is a perfect wisdom working continually day and night. The mystic sees it in everything with open eyes; and that is the great miracle.”

My eyes have been opened to unfathomable falsehoods and injustices and so my secular habit has taken on a new form. That of the lowly spirit. ‘Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.’ I am no longer asleep, so I can no longer prance around in flowers. Now I am awake and just as oppressed as my neighbor, whether they be asleep or not. And I feel my neighbors to be astir.


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