Let your “feelings” guide you home (Sister Stephanie)

I really started to trust my “feelings” when I was about 14.

I was tucked away in a catholic convent school far away from everything I knew and loved. I learnt fast to develop a “feeling” about people.  I also learnt to trust that feeling.  It was part of my survival kit. 

The “feeling” I had about my angry room-mate was spot on.  She had undiagnosed dyslexia and her anger was really just frustration.  When they discovered her wrists covered in blood, my “feeling” was that more trouble was headed her way.

I also had a “feeling” about the nuns.  One nun in particular. Her name was Sister Stephanie.  In stark contrast to her colleagues, she was full of life!  Whilst the other nuns were obsessed with discipline, routine, suspicion and punishment, Sister Stephanie was more relaxed.  She was an avid photographer and delighted in her art.  She told me that she was not a trained photographer and that she used her intuition extensively.  I knew exactly what she meant when she said “you just learn to trust your feelings, to let them guide you”. 

I got to know her when I contracted mumps.  She nursed me and I helped her sort out her printed photos.  I could not shake the feeling that sorting the photos would change my life, and once more, it took me two days to know that my “feeling” was right.  The boy I was in love with had been spending lots of time with one of my “friends”. The photos told me everything I had not known before.

The same girl offered me some new shampoo. Thank goodness that my “feelings” warned me against using it.   It was laced with hair remover.  When I turned up at the sports day with my lovely, shiny locks in-tact, she proceeded to dream up another plan.  And, it worked.  I woke up with no eye brows!  I must admit, I did not see that coming.

You can imagine my “feelings” when more than 20 years later, I read about Sister Stephanie on the front page of the newspaper last week.  To read about murder was horrible enough. To hear that she was raped too turned my stomach!  There are no “feelings” that could adequately correspond with the words I was reading.  There are indeed no words that I could use to describe my feelings either. 

I had to dig deep.  I had to find the words to write this story.  I had to learn to let my “feelings” guide me back to the words.  And I had to let the words guide me back to my “feelings”. 

Aluta continua, friends.  That road is long (for me).

I wish you well as you listen to your feelings this week, and allow them to guide you home.

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