Monday, April 14, 2014

Searching for Fulfillment

The whole controversy over Kirsten Dunst's recent interview has had me thinking a lot about feminism and its goals and also humanity in general.

I need to start out by saying that I am very thankful for the feminist movement.  It is awesome that I can vote.  I am grateful that, if something happened to my husband, I could go out and get a career to support myself.  I am not at the mercy of my husband and father to survive.  I can own property.  I can get an education.  These are all wonderful things that we really shouldn't take for granted.

I can't help but wondering, however, if some of the motivation behind the feminist movement is a bit naive.  There seems to be some sort of idea that somehow, someway, we humans can find true fulfillment in this lifetime through things like an education and a career.  There is no doubt that these things are good and worthy to achieve, but hoping to find rest in your soul and true peace from a career is something that I believe to be wishful thinking.

Okay, Maria, so you're a housewife.  Do you think that a woman staying home with her kids will be able to find that peace and fulfillment?  No, actually, I don't.  I think that this restlessness in our souls for something more is constant in this life, no matter what our vocation, career, socioeconomic status, etc... is.

Everyone has a cross to bear of some sort.  We seek money to eliminate our suffering, but even the wealthy have trials, and wealth brings its own challenges.  We try new jobs when our old ones don't fulfill us, and, yes, we may find something that makes us feel more accomplished, or less stressed, but deeply fulfilled and at peace?  I don't think so.

I paint and draw.  I pursue the arts.  Do I think I'll find fulfillment there?  I find enjoyment, it makes me feel accomplished, it is worth doing, but no, the restlessness in my soul will still be there, no matter how much I achieve or how high I strive.  I have a wonderful marriage.  I'm married to the boy I've loved since I was 14 years old.  He is everything that a man and a husband should be.  Does he take away my restlessness?  No.  I have a house, beautiful children, a good life, yet I still find myself looking for something that is just out of my reach.

I don't think I'm alone with this restlessness in my soul.

I only find relief for a few blissful moments each week during Mass after receiving the Eucharist while I am intimately united with my God.  If I can't get to Mass one week, well, let's just say that you wouldn't want to be around me, as I become fairly unbearable to be around without that weekly union with my Savior.

I think that feminism in a lot of ways is a worthy cause, at least when it comes to equality for both of the sexes (as evidenced by some of the content of this blog), but I think that this idea that somehow women were kept from finding fulfillment when we weren't able to pursue careers while men were able to find deep fulfillment in theirs denies human nature.  To get upset with Kirsten Dunst for alluding to the imperfect pursuit merely of careers seems to me to be ignoring the big picture.  Humanity is always searching for purpose and for meaning in all of the wrong places, and devaluing housewives and acting like they have "nothing" because they decided to stay home is to deny that none of us truly feel fulfilled, no matter what our career is or pursuits are.

CCC27 The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for:
The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God. This invitation to converse with God is addressed to man as soon as he comes into being. For if man exists it is because God has created him through love, and through love continues to hold him in existence. He cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and entrusts himself to his creator.

The sooner we recognize that we can't find what we are looking for in this lifetime through travel, marriage, career, etc... the sooner we will come to terms with the longing in our hearts.  I also don't think that becoming Catholic automatically removes our restless hearts.  To go to religion hoping to find permanent peace while you are still alive is just as much of a folly as looking for it in a career, relationship, or hobby.  I don't think that I will find true peace until at the end when I am hopefully resting in my Father's arm.  The restlessness will not go away until I am intimately united with Him.

So let's not argue about gender theory and what specifically women need to be "happy" in this world.  Let's instead as Catholics focus on our human condition and help others understand that the peace they seek won't be found in any worldly endeavor, but only in our Savior.  Remember this deeply while you go through our Lord's passion.  Remember that He longs for you just as much as you long for Him, so much so that He died brutally for you.

Have a blessed Holy Week.

No comments:

Post a Comment