From “I Love You” to “I Love You”: Learning to Love My Vocation

by | Nov 25, 2020 | Blogs, Prayers, Religious Life, Spirituality

From “I Love You” to “I Love You”

“I love you”
Comes to birth, subterranean,
Underneath hardened layers of earth.
Moving tectonic plates patiently
Occasionally erupting spectacularly
Other times shifting ever so slightly, building tension,
Until a massive break
Sends a seismic shock through unsuspecting rock,
Unsettling settled states of thought.

“I love you”
Forms new mountains at which to marvel
And opens deep canyons
Bearing hidden crystal caves.
Out of primal core forces
Bearing new creation.

“I love you”
It just was the most believable utterance of that phrase I’ve ever heard, while sitting in an utterly unremarkable conference room transformed with incense and song into a place open to worship; somehow breaking through the stubborn habits of conventional self-assurance I felt forced to carry. 

“I love you”
Carried me to demanding moral commitments
And difficult decisions.
It took over a decade
For me to admit my resentment;
To have the courage to question
whether I could honestly say yes
To where “I love you” had led,

“I love you”
Now felt like a snare
It’s beauty commanding my commitment
But it’s demands bearing dissatisfaction;
The doldrums between
“I love you” and “I love you”

From “I love you” to “I love you”
Is the journey of a vocation.
Our attempt to respond to love
Reveals the truth
That we are not what we ought to be.
We see, eventually,
That we don’t love that which has loved us freely
Or that we don’t love the ways of love
When it has lost its luster.

From “I love you” to “I love you”
Is the journey of faith;
To believe
That if you allow every other love
To stand in submission
That you are not letting everything that matters go
In a deranged act of self-immolation
But are instead selling all
For the pearl of greatest price.

From “I love you” to “I love you”
Requires transformation
Of amorous emotions.
Means more than abandoning sin;
This is only where to begin.
Means mining deep desires;
Ploughing through old pleasures.
And as farmers and miners know
It takes painstaking patience
To turn rough rock
And hard land
To a new life,
To its destined end.

From “I love you” to “I love you”
Is a pilgrim’s journey.
But blind
Not knowing
(Even if you think you know!)
What you will find,
What you must leave behind,
Or who you will become.
Persevere through the growing pains,
Because the promise
Is it’s better
than whatever you planned.


Photo by Jaclyn Moy on Unsplash


Chris Williams, SJ   /   All posts by Chris