Finding God on Gannon’s Campus

We are nearly at the midway point of the semester and it seems like yesterday that I sat down to write the first article of the year.  The mid-semester break is nearly upon us and many of us are looking forward to a much-needed rest.

There is still so much to learn and many experiences to share with people that you have not seen for a while.  One nice thing about breaks is that you get to spend time with the friends and family you may not have been around for a few weeks.

I am amused at how this break is the turning point for the Christmas break.  There is a sense of “I am starting to see it,” though what we see at this juncture is mostly still unknown.

The two breaks at the beginning of the semester are the two that the first-year student find most challenging. Most of the reasons I have heard for this are directed toward growth.  Sometimes the students say, “They changed.”  So I usually ask, “Who are ‘they?’”

That answer varies and there have been a few occasions when a remark about a brother or sister leads the conversation to the point of frustration.

“Who changed?” is a valid question. The first thing we think is normally “they” changed, but, did you ever stop to think that we changed?  I think a lot of the experiences a student has at the university is that the person learns how to critically think; we learn how to challenge each and every question.

The best part of this experience is that you and I are growing, and so are the people we have been away from for some time.  The growing can be closer or farther apart.

What sends families into tailspins after breaks has to do with discovery.  When we are away from friends and family for a small amount of time we notice those things that we covered up.  I am talking about discovering yourself.   We are now being influenced by a new set of friends.

The growing process of the university life is one that has a great many dreams attached to it and for the most part we accomplish them.  The way we are able to represent ourselves at home as juxtaposed to the recent few weeks may seem greatly contradictory, however it seems to me that the process of discovery is at work.

If you and I don’t take this opportunity to look deep within ourselves and start to see the “real me” then we fail ourselves tremendously and do so to others as well.  God created us to be the best person we can be, not who we are now. It is a constant journey.

Most of the conflict we will encounter is because we are being taught to critically think and process the information and then to ask another question.  That poses an issue when we are in conflict with our family and they may say we changed.” Maybe so, but changing to make the world a better place is a goal we focus on.

The university life is molding future doctors and lawyers and engineers and professors.  But the university is also molding the future alcoholic; we are also forming the drug addict, the gambling addict and so forth. Like the many turtles that are hatched and struggle to survive the journey to the sea, everyone doesn’t make it “big.”  If we want to be honest, that is reasonable. Or are we going to hide that in the back somewhere and ignore it?

You and I need to take honest looks inside of our hearts and minds and reflect on the vocations we are exploring and ask really tough questions.  Is this what I am called to do?  Do I give my passion ground to grow on? Who am I? Why am I? Who am I doing this for?

This is why breaks are times we notice the changes in others and they notice the changes in us. It is because we are changing and we are becoming the people we are going to be.

God is a verb, and so we too should be a verb.  I don’t mean in the strict literal sense, I mean in a real sense of the action a verb describes.  God is.  We need to be and do it as ourselves.

A neat saying goes, “Just be you – everyone else is taken.”  When you leave for break, keep discovering and keep being.  God loves you and has many wonderful opportunities for you to grow and discover who it is he made you to be.

 

ROB LOPEZ

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