Can’t give what you don’t have

Nov 4 • Lydia Fennessy, Opinion • 824

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While most people were figuring out their Halloween costumes and making mischief this weekend, I was on a retreat at the McKeever Environmental Learning Center in Sandy Lake with 10 other students from Ichthi, the Catholic faith -sharing group on campus.
The retreat could not have come at a better time. With all the stress of the semester finally catching up with me, it was so nice to get away from campus for the weekend and spend some much-needed time in the great outdoors.
The retreat started with “Dinner and Discussion with the Bishop,” an annual event in which college students from across the Diocese of Erie come together to share in fellowship and to ask the bishop questions they have about the faith.
This year’s dinner was hosted by Allegheny College, and it was nice to connect with like-minded college students from other schools nearby. Though it sounds really intimidating, dinner with the bishop is actually a really laid-back affair, and we got to see the lighthearted side of the Most Rev. Lawrence T. Persico.
After dinner, the students from Gannon who were going on the retreat headed to the retreat center and settled in for the weekend. The first night there was brutally cold, but the following day could not have been more perfect.
During downtime, I went on a hike through the woods with my friends Jes and Emily. There were several trails to choose from, and we ended up on one that took us to this quaint bridge. Of course, we had to take several photos to document the experience.
While we were walking, I had to stop several times just to take in the beauty of God’s creation surrounding me.
After our hike, we heard a few talks from the student leaders. One of the talks, which was about living out our call to discipleship, stuck with me.
Daniela, a good friend of mine, laid out three steps to living out our discipleship. The first step to being an intentional disciple was to recognize that you cannot possibly give something that you do not have.
This point hit me particularly hard, and I think it can apply to everyone’s life, religious or not. It’s important to take a step back sometimes and recognize our own shortcomings.
It’s perfectly all right to not be the best at everything. We each have our own personal strengths, and these are what make each of us unique.
Instead of trying to balance the whole world on our shoulders, we need to be willing and able to give some of the weight to people with strengths that differ from our own.
This first step also highlighted the importance of taking time for yourself to recharge and rejuvenate. As hard as we try, we cannot go 24/7 without some serious repercussions.
To live out our full potentials, we need to set our work aside now and then to do something that makes us happy.
I know that this is especially difficult with the schedules most college students have to maintain, but taking some time for yourself is a necessary component of maintaining your cool during these stressful times.

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