I seriously cannot believe how fast this school year has gone by — it seems like just yesterday I was wading my way through the big, beautiful, sometimes overwhelming community of Old St. Pat’s. And now, my time here as ministry intern is quickly coming to a close.
How did I get here? I mean, back in high school if you would have told me that one day I would be preaching at one of the largest Catholic churches in Chicago, I would have laughed at you. Yet, I did just that during my time here.
I distinctly remember the process of figuring out where to go to college. I was trying to decide between a school in Missouri (where most of my friends from high school were going) or a small college in Holland, Michigan. If I went to school in Holland, I would know absolutely no one and that was a terrifying prospect. I visited both schools. I talked with friends about them. Then, one night I was leaving my best friend’s house and it just hit me — I needed to go to Holland. I did not particularly WANT to — my body and my mind were yelling at me to stay near the comfort of my friends and family. But I did it — I followed my gut and went to Hope College. It was pretty awful at first — I had an extremely hard time transitioning, but I pushed through the fear and unsettled feelings. Then, I made some of the best friends in the world. I randomly found my way to the religion department and found a professor there who would listen to my theological questions and offer guidance. And somehow I came out of that place with a longing to continue my religious education. Thus, I found my way to University of Chicago’s Divinity School…which then led me to be here with you wonderful people!
Sometimes our minds or bodies lie to us. They keep us from pushing ourselves to take risks and to try to do those things that we think we just cannot handle. But what are we missing out on when we do that? When we push ourselves into new experiences we gain more trust in ourselves and our abilities, we gain new perspectives on the world and humanity, we gain deeper resources for understanding, wisdom and empathy for our fellow beings. WE GROW. I cannot believe God put us on this Earth in order to watch us fall into the routine of our daily lives and just be “OK” with getting up every morning. We are alive, but are we living? We are awake but are we developing new relationships? Learning new things? Growing in understanding of ourselves? Of our creator?
I found my way to University of Chicago’s Divinity School…which then led me to be here with you wonderful people!
Obviously, this would be tiring to think about all of the time. It takes a lot of energy to push ourselves beyond our comfort zone. But, I often think we let ourselves off the hook too easily. Can you dare to put your trust in God? I think we can more than we actually do.
I share the story above not in order to say “look at what I have done” but because that story often serves to remind me to trust in God. I still have tremendous struggles on a daily basis with trusting God and I imagine I will have them until the day I die. But together we can reflect on these things and go into new experiences aware of the extreme potential for growth that can come from them. And finally, thank you all for being a part of my ministerial journey — you are a wonderful example of what church can be.