Joan Chittister: ‘There Is A Deer In Me’

Deer in the Snow (1911) by Franz Marc

“Go light-footed through life. There is a deer in me—made for running, for scampering while the rest of the world around me walks. I am made to find and drink from foreign streams. I am meant to go light-footed through life. So what am I doing in “stability” and “community,” in a lifetime of “Rules” and hierarchy and patriarchy masking as “a woman’s lifestyle”?

But then, on the other hand, how can anyone move freely unless they are rooted in a worldview that is stable and a community that is empowering and a discipline that is strengthening? Disciplined, meaning stretched beyond ourselves to the best of ourselves. Like the well-trained Olympian, like the well-schooled scholar, like the well-formed soul.

It’s easy to bounce through life—going here, trying that, tasting this. What is difficult is trying to figure out what we are supposed to do with what we find, or learn from where we go that will make life even richer. For ourselves, of course. But for the rest of the world, as well.

Don’t be fooled: Deer run, yes, but they never run very far away from the stream at which they drink. The problem with running through life is that it’s possible to outrun our spiritual nourishment. Then we become an empty person in an even emptier place. “The sea is only beautiful,” Patrick Field writes, “if there is a shore.”–Joan Chittister, OSB

From The Art of Life by Joan Chittister (Twenty-Third Publications)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.