Now that I am "Sister" to those in my community, those who are "Brother" in that community are my brothers. They're confreres. They're bros. They're family.
I even get to see them with relative frequency--once or twice or even thrice a week, sometimes.
I'm holding my new chosen-sibling relationship with them in tension with my vows of stability, conversion, and obedience. I'm promising to be here for them. I'm promising to keep trying to be a better sister to them. And I'm promising to listen to them, even when I don't want to.
I'm learning how to be a sister in a new way. I'm a sister to four childhood siblings, but growing up, stability, conversion, and obedience played very little role in my relationship with them. I was a loner, I did what I wanted, and I didn't listen when it didn't suit me.
Will my identity as "Sister" in this community change my identity as sister in my childhood family? I don't know.
But here's a change I am noticing since my vows last Sunday: when I pray for others now, I don't just pray for those I find easy to love. I lift up the names of those my heart has closed off. Every day, I punch the steely walls of my heart in order to pray for those whom I don't want to love, don't want to be there for, don't want to be better for the sake of, and don't want to listen to.
My prayers may not change the ones I pray for, and they may not change my relationships with those people, but my prayers for those others are changing me. Despite my inclination to resist, the vows I uphold are tearing down my defenses, exposing my vulnerabilities, and rending my heart for love's sake.