Finding God on Gannon’s campus: Nathan Demarest discusses the idea of new beginnings

Gannon asked students about religous perspective and worldviews in a recent online survey.

Gannon asked students about religous perspective and worldviews in a recent online survey.

Welcome back to another beginning. It could be new classes with new professors, a new roommate, a new dorm or apartment. You could have new privileges, new responsibilities and new expectations; new assignments, new ideas and a new outlook on life. Perhaps you have a new meal plan, a new hobby or a new schedule of activities and events. You could be in a new relationship or looking for a fresh new start.

That’s a lot of new. You’ve probably read the word ‘new’ in this column so much now that it sounds strange and foreign. Good, because now I’m going to talk about the old.

No matter what age you are or how many years you’ve been at Gannon, there is a sense of the past – what you’ve already experienced. Or in other words, the oldness of what is familiar and ‘safe’ to us.

Just like the country song, “I… hold… on,” we all hold on to what we know. From old routines and old habits, to old friends who are loyal and true. As well as old items that we have treasured and still do treasure today, like an old book or necklace.

Speaking of necklaces, this summer I lost my chain necklace that I’ve had since I was 7. I was pretty bummed about it.

Anyway, this can be a great thing. To have many things that bring back sweet memories of yesterday whenever the present is bleak or that we pull out of our old treasure box when we just want to revisit wonderful times in our life.

You may be asking yourself, “Nathan, what is the point you’re trying to make here?” I’m not exactly advocating the adage, “Out with the old and in with the new,” but in a way – I am.

Remember the chain necklace I lost this summer? I was sad about it for a while, but I got over it and I bought a new chain for a crucifix that I’ve been meaning to wear for a long time. Now I wear it proudly.

I came to realize that I was maybe a little too attached to my old necklace. You know, being materialistic and obsessing over an object, but that’s a story for another column.

The point I’m stressing is that wherever you are in life, there is bound to be change, because we – as humans – are changing every day. We are not stagnant people, but we are called to be dynamic, in our friendships, relationships and who we are.

I believe that God wants us to grow and to become more than who we are. In the book of Revelation, Jesus is called the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. The old and the new. St. Augustine’s famous line rings out, “O Beauty ever ancient, O Beauty ever new; my soul is restless until it rests in you.”

I pray that every one of you gains an appreciation for the old in your life and an excited anticipation for the new that will come this semester and beyond. God bless you all.

 

NATHAN DEMAREST

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