I’m in training

Is it just DC where every activity has to be carried to an absurd level of competition? I have recently begun training (I use the word “training” with just a hint of irony, since I have no idea what I’m doing…) for a 10k race in May, and the subculture of running I’ve stumbled upon amazes and frightens me. I was always dimly aware of this culture, but I had no idea how pervasive it really is. It seems everyone is a runner, or has been a runner, or plans to be a runner in another six months.

Of course, I’m in full support of a healthy habit, don’t get me wrong. But I’m also a wee bit embarrassed. Well-meaning friends have offered to train with me, and even more well-meaning housemates are offering me tips and advice on getting into the most optimal shape. People talk about their “slow” 10k finishes of 50 minutes, and I cringe. I’m a stubborn 10-minute miler and I don’t see that changing any time between now and May 17. I’ll be lucky if I can run a full 6.2 miles without dying, so speed is not at the top of my list of priorities.

I had to use this meme.

I had to use this meme.

 

But it gets worse. I don’t even know how to look like a runner. I’m realizing there’s a whole fashion code to working out, and somehow I completely missed the trend on that one. I see them all the time here in metro DC, the svelte, spandex-clad paragons of modern virtue racing down the sidewalk in their neon-colored shoes, earbud cords flashing white against their North Face and Lululemon jackets. I’m pretty sure they don’t even sweat.

Is there nowhere in life that "poorly dressed" is an acceptable standard?

Is there nowhere in life that “poorly dressed” is an acceptable standard?

Me? I’m huffing along in year-old cross trainers, sweatpants, and oversized T-shirts from countless volunteer functions over the years, with my hair flying in just about every direction and inevitably getting in my mouth. And my nose always runs. Always. Does anyone else have a runny nose running problem, or is that just me?

In all seriousness, this endeavor is proving to be an excellent opportunity to exercise not just discipline, but humility. No, I’m not the best runner out there — far, far from it. No, I don’t really even look like much of a runner. Honestly, I’m sure most people don’t notice; and those few over-achiever females who do bother to pay attention to what I wear can pat themselves on the back for looking better in their designer workout gear. No, I’ll never be fast, and yes, I’ll probably be finishing this race last, but by golly I’ll be in better shape than I was at the beginning of the year. And when it’s all over, I can say I ran a 10k.

So…I’m calling this a win. And if you’re working towards a 40-minute 10k anytime between now and June, know that I hate you and I don’t want to talk about it.

-Mabel

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Profile in the Gap: Blanca Therese Morales

Profiles in the Gap
Blanca Therese Morales
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Blanca Therese Morales is a freelance writer and photojournalist. Check out her blog! Also, be on the lookout for her to appear in EWTN’s new series, “Extraordinary Faith.” She’ll be featured with some friends in an episode later this spring. 
I had always expected to be married by my early twenties. I knew many women who had married out of college, becoming stay-at-home moms in a nice little towns. It always seemed ideal.  However, God had other plans for me.
Since marriage was not to be had, I planned a glittering career in broadcast media. I saw myself living a glamorous life in either California or New York, rubbing elbows with celebrities, attending VIP events and feeling “free” of commitment or obligations.
But God got to me before any of this took place. He let me see that a life without Him would have no meaning, no purpose and no merit. I decided to offer my future plans to him, including marriage. From that point on, every decision had to include Him. I would live my life for Him.
As I offered up a career on TV, God offered me a better career alternative: writing. I had always liked creative writing but never saw myself working as a writer. God led me to news writing and photojournalism, where I learned to hone this skill through experience.
While I had never planned this for myself, God knew what He was doing. This new path helped me to grow so much as a person, and also as a Christian.
I now see that this season of singleness was a blessing in disguise. I have been able to do things I would not have been otherwise been able to do, had I done things according to my own plan. I have had the time to travel, go on pilgrimages, have a career I enjoy, attend retreats, and to learn and grow in so many ways.
God has humored me even further, by letting me go in front of the camera as I had originally planned, except this time the opportunity came not to give myself glory, but to speak about the things that give Him glory.

Breaking the spell

Being single for so many years, I’ve gotten pretty used to being unseen. Saying I’ve gotten used to it doesn’t mean I like it, or even that I’ve accepted it, but I’ve developed a comfortable routine that takes my own invisibility for granted. 

Perhaps other singles can relate: It’s unsettling to discover you’re not as invisible as you think you are. That despite the constant, nagging sense of being unknown and unlooked-for, you’re still capable of being observed. This fact has startled me a number of times in the past year. After a good decade of feeling trapped in invisibility, I’m discovering I’m not as unseen as I thought. Some stranger will make an unexpected observation, an acquaintance will remark on a peculiar trait, a closer friend or mentor will point out some flaw, and I’m left feeling at once exposed and a little ridiculous. 

When did the invisibility I thought I hated become a crutch? I’ve railed against it for years, whether as a wallflower at school dances, as the “sweet, quiet girl” at the office, or as the introverted friend and roommate. I’ve spent many a long night after a party or social event, sitting on the edge of my bed and grappling with it into the wee hours of the morning. Yet now when the veil gets torn back for a brief moment, I recoil.  

Why can’t we move forward in life–and in love–without some lifting of the veil? I guess it all comes back to my least favorite word: vulnerability. We must be seen in order to be loved, and that means not just the pleasant parts we like to show off before company, but the ugly parts also. Yes, I have character defects, loads of them. As long as I’m invisible, though, I can keep them (mostly) to myself. To be visible  automatically requires some level of vulnerability, but it’s the only way to be loved. 

And I suspect that ultimately, it’s not entirely unpleasant. There’s relief in being seen, recognized, and even (sometimes) accepted. Maybe the genuine encounter with the other is worth the initial discomfort of exposure. Maybe love really does smash through our carefully constructed barriers and make us new and whole in spite of ourselves. 

 

Profile in the Gap: Marian Keiselbach

Profiles in the Gap

Marian Keiselbach

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Marian Keiselbach is a nurse in the Northern Virginia area.

Did I expect this time of singleness? I don’t know. Depends on when you asked me. When I was eight, I thought that the end of the world would come well before I was 21. When I was 16, I thought I had my whole entire life completely figured out and therefore how could there possibly be gap time. And when I was 21, and my life plan of 16 had fallen through and thrown me flat on my face, I thought the rest of my life would be an unending limbo of fog and unfulfilled desires. I’m 27 now and this “time of singleness” is well upon me, so there is nothing to expect or not expect, there is only the day behind me to be reflected upon and the day ahead of me to be embraced and lived. 

Married, celibately consecrated, or in the grey in between, I seek and hope that l will continue to seek to find my fulfillment in my relationship with… you guessed it…. God. I also can’t help but wonder if I really will feel more fulfilled once I’ve “minded the gap” and entered the train. I know that I’m crazy restless right now, and some of it is from the evil one driving me to despair and some of it is from the Lord urging me toward the Father, but I can’t really imagine that getting married or joining a convent will all of a sudden provide the magic cure for my restlessness. Surely the only true fulfillment will be in heaven. Maybe I will feel dissatisfied and unfulfilled in a different manner or a little less, but I think until I’m face to face with God forever I’ll always be searching. And for me this is one of the greatest consolations of this between time. My angst (I think) is not because I’m in the  wrong place or doing the wrong thing or not doing enough, its because Eve ate that damn apple and Adam stood by and watched.  

That being said, I do love my job. I’m a nurse and I thank God daily for my work. (Although last week when my patient vomited all over my new sneakers,  I believe I may have been a little less appreciative.) My work challenges me, pushes me, makes me more generous, gives me structure and discipline, and provides an outlet for my desire to serve. I’m also fulfilled by my many relationships, and I rejoice that I have time to make new friends and to love and grow with my old ones.

Finally, the life of the mind is another truly satisfying aspect of the single life. If I was married with children or caught up in the responsibilities of communal life, would I have the same luxury of free time to study my Spanish, visit the many museums in the area and of course read, read, and read some more? Probably not. So, although I think it’s about time the Lord revealed His will for grown up me, and if He would move it along a little I would be very grateful, I nevertheless daily thank Him for the wonderful and satisfying things He has given me, and I strive to continue to have as much fun as I possibly can in the meantime.

 

 

A new trajectory

I am learning through experience that “the gap” changes and takes on different aspects as you continue to journey through it. Some months it can seem like trudging along at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, while other times it’s just a footbridge over a small creek. There’s a temptation to look at our lives now and assume they’ll always be this way, that we’ve finally got it just about figured out, that the journey will only get easier from here.

Life has thrown me a number of curveballs over the past eighteen months, knocking down each of my carefully constructed paradigms, from my comfortable career, my ambitions and goals, to my narrow self-perception and even my relationships. I have been forced to admit that I don’t know what’s coming next, that I don’t have all the answers (I don’t have many answers at all), that despite all my introspection I don’t even know myself all that well. I’ve been pretty shaken up, readers, and the process of recovery and healing has taken a long time and led me into some situations I never thought I’d be part of, but it has been truly beautiful. I wouldn’t undo it for the world.

The shakeups in my career and the almost subconscious resetting of my ambitions in the last year undid a lot of things for me, but it also opened me up in ways I never expected. Readers, I’ve been grappling with whether or not to broach this on the blog, but I’m far enough in now that to say nothing would be dishonest. After years of assuming my “life in the gap” would end in marriage, I have found myself gently led down a different path. It began to dawn on me during Holy Week last year that perhaps I am being asked to consider a different life. It took a few months for things to become clear, but I have been actively discerning a vocation to the religious life since last summer. Without going into imprudent detail, I will only say I continue to be met with green lights as I walk this unexpected and beautiful path.

For now, I’m still “in the gap,” even if my trajectory is a little bit different now. This blog will go on, and hopefully at least some of my readers will stick with me. I’m excited to continue this journey, to see where my gap leads now that I have taken some first steps, and to share where I can.

-Mabel

February Profile: Mary Powers

Profiles in the Gap

Mary Powers

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Mary Powers lives and works in Washington, D.C., and is a graduate of the University of Dallas.

Did you expect this time of singleness?  

I did not expect this time of singleness, though I didn’t know what I would expect either. I thought I’d marry just after college (at 25) like my mom. I  kept waiting expectantly when I was in my early twenties for “the one.” While I’m still waiting, there hasn’t been a dull moment yet. If I had had gotten married earlier, I wouldn’t be able to do all that I am doing now, so in the end my singleness has been a blessing. It’s funny, for a while I kept praying for my husband thinking, “There must be something that he’s working through that God hasn’t brought us together yet”…and then a couple of years ago I realized I also had  things to work on, too. So maybe I’m the one God’s still working on! Either way, I know it’ll happen in God’s time.

Do you seek or find fulfillment in your career?

Yes, definitely.

I work in the pro-life movement in DC, so there’s always something happening that I can help with or work on within the movement. I began working with pro-life students and now work in pro-life politics. Within each area there are such important groups of people to reach with the beauty of the pro-life message. It truly is the human and civil rights movement of our day, fighting for mothers and the rights of their unborn children. Both students and politicians are on the frontlines of the pro-life movement in different ways. Students are working to help their peers choose life on campus, reaching the most vulnerable in their community to show them the love and acceptance they hunger for. Politicians are on the front lines as leaders in their communities, in Washington, D.C., and the media as candidates and legislators working to protect Life at all stages. Each requires unique resources and constant encouragement and support. Even though I’m stuck behind a computer for most of the day, I’ve still assisted them in obtaining those resources in a small way.

I also volunteer in my parish by teaching CCD. I started by teaching 1st grade for two years and then moved over to the 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders who will be receiving their sacraments this year. Even though it’s difficult to give up beauty sleep on Sunday mornings, it’s so fulfilling. Seeing their excitement when they understand a piece of the faith or watching them recite prayers that they’ve memorized in front of the class is just so awesome. The first year I taught, there was a boy in class who was so difficult. My co-teacher and I were pulling our hair out every class trying to get him to sit still and not play with the toys in the classroom while he was supposed to be listening/reading/working on projects. But then, just after Christmas, we took a trip to Church to look at the manger, and as all the kids were battling to view the manger scene, I looked over and saw this trouble-maker peacefully praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. I thought, “Wow! Who would have thought?” Ha! God is so good. I never cease to be amazed at the progress each class makes and the knowledge they soak up. People you think aren’t listening the whole year end up answering questions in the end that surprise you. It’s great. It makes the challenges that much more tolerable.

I also sit on the National Alumni Board at the University of Dallas and help coordinate UD activities in DC. It’s so fun to help continue the UD community here and foster relationships between the wise alumni in the community and those who are new to the area looking for work or internships. It’s also great to meet UD alumni doing amazing things—and meeting them in the most random places! I love hearing their stories. It’s always like meeting a friend at the Capp Bar on campus. I will never forget being new to DC, looking for a job, and connecting with a UD alum on the Hill who was a Chief of Staff for a Senator. He was so kind. His door was open and we chatted for 45min about UD and then had a brief conversation about jobs and his thoughts on what I should do. After that, with each new job, his door was always open and I constantly received invitations to his bible study or lunch on the Hill. He has since passed on, but it is my goal to continue his “open door” and be the person that people can go to for help—even if my connections aren’t as big as his. After UD gave so much to me, it’s nice to be able to give back.

How does faith play a role in your actions and your outlook on your life as a single young adult? 

Faith plays a major role in my actions and outlook. Following God’s plan and doing what He wants me to do is paramount. He seems to know exactly what I need all the time! It’s wonderful. I once read a letter in Flannery O’Connor’s Habit of Being where she described the Church as a Mother and said that, because of faith, we can sleep peacefully in our Mother’s arms. This is exactly how I view life. Even in the darkest and most turbulent times, we can sleep peacefully with the knowledge that God has everything in control. We are called to not only live and preach the Gospel, but also to trust in His will. We have so many wonderful resources to use and share as Catholics that it’s hard to stay silent. You just want to keep talking about how awesome life is!

And as hard as it may be, our faith helps us to see life in a different way. It helps us never give into the darkness that secularism often brings. I often feel that Winston Churchill’s “never give in” speech explains that well: “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never–in nothing, great or small, large or petty–never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

Why shouldn’t we give in? Because we have something so much better…and an unimaginably wonderful place to look forward to.

“Delighting in the sons of men…”

“Rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the sons of men.” – Proverbs 8:31

An old spiritual director once counseled me to “seek to delight in the other.” The advice had something to do with openness to dating and letting my guard down, and I’m afraid at the time the words fell on largely deaf ears. That’s not to say they didn’t sound nice in theory — “delight in the other” has a sort of Garden of Edenesque trill to it that’s lovely all on its own.

But to delight in another person, whether romantically or simply as one child of God encountering another, has never come naturally to me. Maybe it feels a bit like taking a liberty. Admiring someone is one thing, because it maintains a respectful distance. Delighting in a thing means immersing yourself in it, digging your hands in it up to your elbows, throwing it in the air and catching it again, tasting it, laughing out loud over it, hugging it close to your chest, smothering it with kisses.

In other words, delight is a shameless, childlike, generally pretty messy process. And one can’t delight in another person without being a bit shameless, childlike, and yes — messy.

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But reflecting on my chosen theme for January, I realized that learning to find the face of Christ in others has to start with learning to delight in them. Of course, this is easy to do when you’re dealing with babies or small children or pleasant, loving people who are pretty obviously delightful in and of themselves. But what about the less-than-delightful people we encounter on a daily basis? The grocery store cashier who looks half dead, the jaywalkers, the drivers who cut you off on your morning commute, the old woman who sits right behind you in chapel and smells like mothballs and whispers all her prayers aloud until you can hardly think.  

Delight can be even more challenging when you don’t feel all that delightful yourself. I realized that in a more poignant way than ever this weekend. I helped to organize a black tie event with some friends, and somehow being in a social situation surrounded by people in their best clothes left me feeling irritable and shoddy. Other people thrive in lively scenes like that; the older I get, the more I want to run away about twenty minutes after the party starts. I’m afraid “delight” was about as the farthest thing from my mind that evening.

But it’s not just black tie social events. I make a point of surrounding myself with delightful people all the time, from my household to my closest friends. It’s a great practice, until I inevitably start comparing myself with them; then I just become sour. And the sourer I feel in comparison with my delightful friends, the less able I am to delight in anybody else. I’m just a quivering bundle of resentment.

Yet it’s that delight in others and even in ourselves as children of God that is the key to real Christian charity–the charity that changes hearts and stays lodged in our memory for the rest of our lives. Just think of saints like Bl. John Paul II: he delighted in people, and people never forgot it.

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I guess the challenge lies in really delighting. Delight can’t be forced. Do we simply go through the motions and hope the real feelings will follow? I think instead we have to go back a few steps and work on other attitudes first — like gratitude, service to others, and charity. And we have to be okay with being like children, unafraid of what others will think of us, unafraid to see and rejoice in the goodness of other people.

 

Fighting off the green monster…

“Saul has killed his thousands and David his ten thousands.”

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Those words must have slammed into Saul’s consciousness like a ton of bricks. They certainly slammed into mine yesterday when I heard them at Mass. Perhaps the women who sang those words in the streets meant to praise both their king and the young man who slew the giant; perhaps they meant no harm. But to have yourself lined up so starkly next to another, and to see that you lack by comparison, hurts so much. What makes the hurt worse is its very ugliness. Jealousy is evil, and the hurt it causes must be evil, too, and people who feel jealous are always evil. Isn’t jealousy the main characteristic of the evil stepmothers and stepsisters and rivals in fairy tales and old books?

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Remember this jealous lady? Things didn’t go so well for her…

To tell the honest and painful truth, I’ve always been jealous. I guess it’s a natural outgrowth of comparisons, and I have a terrible habit of comparing. It’s an old habit that goes back at least to the sixth grade, when I shot up suddenly to my full height and stood out like a freak among my more petite and delicate peers. It’s probably safe to say we all — or most of us — fall into the comparison trap to some extent. These comparisons can be based on anything, from physical characteristics to personality traits to talents. Maybe we compare due to a natural urge to categorize or measure our own value, or to get a clearer picture of who we are. Whatever the reason, once you let yourself fall into the habit of comparing yourself with others, you eventually end up stuck in one of two lies. Either you believe you’re better than everyone, because based on comparisons you have a higher “score”; or you believe you’re worse. And you can get so caught up in whichever lie you’re living that you completely lose sight of who you are.  

Those of you who know me best know full well which lie I’ve been caught up in for most of my life.

Maybe that’s why yesterday’s reading hit me so hard. Of course his jealousy was wrong, but I get where Saul was coming from. He didn’t hear, “Saul has slain thousands” because all he saw was the comparison. David had achieved more, David was more well-liked, therefore Saul must be worth nothing. 

How often have I gotten caught up in this way of thinking? What good are my thousands when someone else has ten thousands? 

Of course I’m not racking up a body count, but at the heart of it I don’t think my comparisons are much different from Saul’s. Maybe I have intelligence, but I can name off three dozen friends who are quite a bit smarter than I am, so really I’m just an idiot. Maybe I’m reasonably attractive, but I know a hundred girls who are prettier, so I’m basically ugly. Maybe people really like me once they get to know me, but I have so many friends who are likable right off, so I have no shot at meaningful friendships. Maybe I have specific talents, but I know so many people who have so much more talent, so there’s no point in bothering.

Granted, I don’t want to kill any of the people who rank higher in any sort of comparison. I’ve never contemplated murder or considered the best way to “off” the better-looking girl/more talented musician/more successful writer/etc. But I do let my comparisons color and shape my relationships. Jealousy is a poison running through so many of my interactions and tinting even some of my dearest memories.

For a long time I thought that poison only affected me, so I kept it to myself. But that was just another lie that grew out of the main one I’d been living. “You don’t matter much,” I told myself, “so your bitter feelings aren’t going to hurt anyone else anyway. Not like they care.” In a way that’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’ve had more people, especially my male friends, tell me in the past year that they thought I hated them when we first met. That’s such a blow, because of course I didn’t hate them — I just assumed they’d have no use for me, and apparently my bitterness showed…and it certainly affected people other than myself. 

Pope Francis’ homily yesterday on this reading drives at the heart of jealousy and envy, and the way these vices tear people apart. Maybe you’re not spreading rumors or actively wishing someone else harm, but are you withdrawing into yourself and shutting others out? Are you projecting your own self-hatred onto people who would probably like you very much if you only liked yourself a little?

At the heart of it all is ingratitude. Pope Francis says that “the jealous person…doesn’t know how to sing, how to praise.” As I’ve learned through long, hard experience, praise is where we have to start if we want to run jealousy out of our hearts.

I remember discovering this in a very concrete way while I was on retreat one summer years ago. A girl in my group sang like an angel, and the retreat leaders had asked her to lead some songs. I felt the usual nauseating waves of jealousy as she started off, the bitter comparisons of my only decent singing voice to her gripping talent. Then I remembered a conversation I’d overheard her having just the day before. Someone praised her talent and she very sincerely replied, “Thank you. All for the glory of God, right?” It suddenly put things into stark perspective. Here she was using her beautiful voice to sing songs of praise (literally), and all I could think about was myself. I remember I actually started laughing at that point, because looking at it that way showed very clearly that I had nothing to do with this situation. My only place there was to listen, to enjoy, to praise God with her, and to praise God for her talent. It was a moment of pure grace for me, to be able to see this so clearly and to say in all sincerity, “Thank you, Lord, for her incredible talent.”I wish I could say I was never jealous again after that, but it would be a blatant lie. Still, it was the beginning of a new outlook, and it gave me a new weapon to fight off a nasty old habit.

Jealousy is bitter by nature because it’s an always futile attempt to put the “I” at the center of everything, where it can’t subsist, because it doesn’t belong there. Jealousy kills, as Pope Francis says. It kills relationships, it kills love of the other, and it kills properly ordered self-love. Praise restores balance by taking our focus off ourselves and putting it on the One Who is the true Center of everything, the only Center that can hold. 

When we see Him

It seems to be a season of next steps.

Over Christmas I watched my baby sister get married and thought how small she looked in yards of white tulle, and how brave. Spending time over glasses of wine with my new brother-in-law and another brother-in-law-to-be, I thought about how much things change, and how the changes can be so good, bringing new, unexpected people into our lives.

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Among my closest friends also there has been a rustling and stirring as many of us begin to move forward, after a long time of restlessness. We’d always heard it would happen suddenly, but I admit it’s leaving me a little dizzy.

There are so many good-byes. A few weeks ago I got together one last time with an old schoolmate who was preparing to move out west with her husband. My roommate of nearly three years will be taking her next step in another month, moving on to a new job and a new life in a new city far away. Several of my friends have completed applications for graduate programs and will be moving on as they figure out what schools will best meet their needs.

Then there are all the friends newly dating, others newly engaged, and the upcoming weddings. Every weekend seems to bring a new acquaintance, as an old friend says, “I want you to meet my girlfriend,” or “Let’s do dinner. You have to meet my boyfriend.”

It’s bittersweet, of course, but in many ways it’s such a joyful time. It’s almost audible as an undercurrent in so many of my conversations with friends and family members: “At last!”

The waiting can be so long, but as it finally draws to a close, you can see so much beauty in it. So often it’s only in looking back that you discover the face of Christ etched across your experiences. He’s there in the shadows, working in silence.

Does one grow to understand this better as life flows on, or will we always flail in the darkness?

Profile No. 25: Travis Rinn

Dear Readers, 
It has been such a privilege to receive so many profiles over the past month and a half. I never expected this project to turn out so well…and to be so rewarding! I’ve enjoyed reading the stories and reflections of other people living in the gap, and I hope you all have too. While the regular profiles have come to an end, I still have more…and I will be posting them over the coming months. If you haven’t been profiled yet but would like to be, please send me an email (single dot lifeinthegap at gmail). I’m always delighted to get new profiles, and eager to share them. I would also still love to receive good, thoughtful guest posts. Guest posts can be about anything related to life in the gap, as long as they’re told from your personal perspective and describe something from your own journey. 
Starting this week, we’re back to regular postings from yours truly (a.k.a. “Mabel), and maybe we can convince Virginia to share her thoughts with us now and then as well…
The theme for the rest of this month will be seeking the face of Christ, especially in the most vulnerable. With Christmas past and the March for Life almost upon us, it seems like a good time to explore that seeking that should shape and inform our lives. 
I’m looking forward to a great 2014 with this blog, and thank you as always for reading. 
–Mabel
Profiles in the Gap
Travis Rinn
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Travis Rinn is a software developer living and working in Austin, Texas. 
Did you expect this time of singleness?

I always thought I would be single at this age. I had the notion that I should establish a career before marrying.

If so, is it what you expected it to be? If not, what did you expect, and has the change been exciting or disappointing?

I thought that if I chased wealth first, then the girls would come, and after that I would find a Catholic one and worry about all this God stuff later. As it turns out, the Holy Spirit bonked me on the head in the middle of amassing that wealth, and now my plan is all out of order. So no — it’s not what I expected at all, but what I expected wasn’t what I should have been going after. I guess you could say the change is pretty exciting.

Do you seek or find fulfillment in your career? If so, can you elaborate? If not, where do you seek / find it?

I did seek fulfillment in my career, but I have come to realize that it is only part of fulfilling the role that God has for me. I’ve tried to take a more balanced role since coming to that conclusion.

How does faith play a role in your actions and your outlook on your life as a single young adult?

For a while, it didn’t play much of a role at all. I was the guy who skipped Mass to watch the NFL pre-game show. Later, through the meddling of the Holy Spirit, I came to realize that it was in fact the most important thing and should inform everything I do. I try to put my Faith first in everything now. It makes all the difference.

Since you have this time, what are some challenges you give yourself? If you didn’t have to worry about failure, what would you do with this time that you might be putting off out of fear?

I use my time to benefit God. And in particular, I have given a lot to the young adult community as a leader and coordinator of various groups and projects. I have some software ideas (games and Catholic apps) and no time to write them, and if I didn’t have little concerns like bills and a mortgage, I would love to take a few months off to build one of them. Maybe some day…