God works in mysterious ways and meets you where you are at. It's been more than a year since I last posted. My plan was to post bi-weekly, but that obviously didn't happen. Perhaps it was because my relationship with God became complicated over the past year. He worked on my heart in the last year in so many unexpected ways. I am learning to trust in him more and more each day. He challenged me in just the ways I needed. Now let's dive right in.
Spring Semester was the beginning of a reordering of my identity. This was largely in the area of rooting my identity in my academics. The semester started off pretty well, I was doing fine in my classes and was mostly keeping up on the work, or so I thought. Then came midterms and that's when I realized in my advanced composition II course, I hadn't just fallen a little behind but way behind. Before that midterm, I wasn't able to really catch all the way up or review as much as I needed to. The grade came back a failure. Well, that made me go down into an anxiety "let's assume the worst case scenario" mindset. Failing this midterm meant I had to do well on every other major assignment to pass the class. And well for what was the final, something called a Heuristic, I procrastinated, unintentionally. I was very nervous near the end I wouldn't meet the page count (disclaimer: I did). But let's rewind because once I failed the final, I immediately went for "oh no what if I don't do well on another assignment and I fail this class". This course is only offered in the spring semester so I would have to wait a year (until now) to retake the class. At the time my wonderful mother gently coaxed me from the cliff I was about to jump off of, as I was seriously considering whether I should drop the class, and reminded me the world wouldn't end if I had to retake it. Of course I ended up getting A's on all the other major assignments and did indeed pass the course. But this was one of the major points in the journey where God has reaffirmed my identity is not in my academics or should not be. He was reminding me that college is a time to learn and not just academically, but practically how to get work done, how to manage time, how to deal with consequences of all your choices, and how to learn from your mistakes even if the lesson is hard to learn. Unfortunately, I didn't quite fully grasp that my identity was not in my academics and I fell back into that trap (but more on that later). Another big area that radically shifted was my faith life.
From my blog post in December 2021 about my first semester at Franciscan I mentioned Juventutem. This group promotes the extraordinary Form Roman Catholic mass on Franciscan's campus. Unfortunately, though my experience on the surface at the time seemed positive, below the surface I was becoming more scrupulous, more judgmental, more combative, less confident, less courageous, less discerning, and developing other traits that weren't so spiritually beneficial to my spiritual health. I was starting to see God as someone who I needed to earn love from and didn't freely love me. I started making choices so as not to lose those friendships or what I thought were friendships. I almost allowed myself not to go to the beach with my family nor dance at my cousin's wedding in July because of certain "truths" taught by the church I was told by the club. I also declined a ride to mass at the local TLM in Indianapolis because the group had gotten me convinced that being alone with a guy would lead to a relationship. Luckily during this time, family, my mom in particular, and my beloved friend, Mikaela, were there to give me a gentle whack upside the head (figuratively not literally...Indianapolis is five hours from Steubenville after all). Unfortunately, the attachment I had created to the group as I'd first gone to the extraordinary form with them prevented me from being receptive to their advice, warnings, and cautions. However, even then the Holy Spirit was working. He allowed me to start questioning them at least in my head and sometimes verbally. I did give into fear because they seemed to have all the answers to my questions but my misgivings won out and over the summer I began to deprogram from some of the honestly radical views I had been taught by them. In the fall semester, I took a break from the group, and found that I am much happier not participating in Juventutem ,even if I still love and prefer the extraordinary form over the ordinary form ("regular" mass). I have since chosen to say a goodbye to Juventutem for good and am at peace because I know for me it is the right thing to do to not return to the group (even if it has changed its approach to students).
During finals week of spring 2021, my beloved grandmother gave us quite the scare going into the hospital with pneumonia. While it may have been quite stressful, this situation meant I got to see several of my mother's brothers and sisters throughout the summer. This greatly aided me in working through some of those questions which I had which I felt like I couldn't ask the trad group. Some of the tidbits I shared caused rather strong reactions but it started me down the road to debugging my mind. I did get to go to Latin Mass a couple times whilst family was in town (thanks Aunt Liz and Uncle John). I also learned some important lessons about missions and how to complete them thanks to my Uncle Vinny. During this time I also resumed my annual summer job at Lowe's (probably my last summer there). Not much to say about that except I learned customer service...pray for all customer service workers that job is nowhere near easy. I did start getting involved at Holy Rosary. I helped prepare desserts for their annual Italian festival. The time was so much fun and I can't wait to get involved in this parish as I at the time was intending on joining it. I wasn't able to attend the festival cause of work but I look forward to possibly attending this year. I officially joined the parish at the end of winter break 2022-23.
Also during the summer my friend Mikaela tied the knot. The wedding was a blast. I learned a really fun line dance called the copperhead stomp. It was so much fun to be able to polka with my dad. I also loved seeing the "Polish tradition" at the end. I don't really remember all the in-and-outs of it so I can't fully explain it. All I know is included an apron and a song which asked for my friend and her husband to be blessed with a child within the year.
On August 28th, I moved back into Franciscan for my final year of college. I had a fun time arranging my room as I was surprised by two sets of dorm furniture in what I thought was supposed to be a single room. But I did get extra closet, shelf, and desk storage out of it so that was definitely a plus. Also, my amazingly intelligent father had the fantastic idea of bunking the beds to get the extra bed out of my way, which opened up the room making it very spacious. During that semester, I joined a household, Lilies of Saint Joseph.
The Household is dedicated to Saint Joseph, the father of Jesus. Though I intented (joined) last semester because of some practical matters, I will not be inducted until sometime in the very near future as formation is finishing up.
I also got involved in the hiking club. I love the outdoors and hiking. I only went on two or three hikes last semester and had to miss the first one of this semester.
I also joined a mission trip that served Steubenville over Spring break. The formation was so much fun. It did feel like we were getting a new member every other week. The experience itself was transformative and deserves a post of its own.
I also completed my senior thesis last semester. That turned out to be a very humbling experience. I learned a lot. I loved re-reading The Hobbit to look at it as children's story. I do admit I should have finished it much earlier in the semester than I did. Yet, it was one of those moments where God wanted to remind me that my grades aren't my identity. As I had to accept that my extremely rough first draft became the final draft. Moving on.
Winter break was a whirlwind. The pretty much it was visitors coming and going. Near the end I went to a dance called the Magi Ball for the young adults in my diocese (group of churches in a certain area). It was so much fun. I'll never forget that night.
Spring semester has been busy. I've been trying to find a full-time job throughout. Slowly I've discovered what type of work God may be calling me to. Steubenville Spring Mission was one of the biggest influence. This is how I spent my spring break. While I did join it in fall semester I have to be honest it was the last of the missions on my radar. Yet, I realized on it that God is calling me to serve the poor (materially and spiritually) wherever I'm at. I also learned to really love Steubenville, but I am really desire to serve Indianapolis in the same way I got to serve Steubenville for a week. However, I have also noticed many of my ministry interests may take me away from my beloved Indianapolis, but that's up to God.
Well that's where I'm at right now. Hope you enjoyed the really overdo life update. Catch you in the next post.