I could never picture what life would be like after high school, but I knew it wasn’t staying home in Seattle and attending community college. Yet that is exactly what happened. I tried to keep my chin up, but it was only natural that I developed feelings of discouragement and dismay over the past three months. I saw all my friends living out the “college life”, while I felt stuck; unable to be a part of these experiences of becoming an independent adult. I’ve also always been a part of a community, whether that was in my youth group, my parish or my high school. I encountered the dissatisfaction and loneliness in my situation and became indifferent in my classes and friendships. Fortunately, one day over lunch, my former youth minister, Molly, helped me realize how I was looking at my situation with the wrong perspective and attitude. I explained to her my doubts of staying in Seattle for the next two years. It simply didn’t seem like I was going to grow properly as a budding young adult with a faith that needs to be fed. Molly calmly responded by saying that because I’m still here for a reason. God must has something big planned for me, but it’s going to take some waiting and a lot of trust in Him. At first, it just sounded like such an easy answer to give to someone who has lost hope. Yet I continued to wrestle with Molly’s answer in prayer. God was then able to help me see my situation more clearly in the light of the Advent season.
I found that being wallowed in envy and watching all my friends enjoy the adventure of being at a university left me empty and unappreciative. I forgot how God is taking care of them wherever they are at, just as He is taking care of me where I am at. Although I’m on a different path, I failed to see that I, too, am on an adventure filled with unexpected surprises and time to grow in my relationship with Christ. Just like Advent, we must be thankful for the opportunities presented to us. Some opportunities may not seem important to our life at the moment, but when we look back, we see how they helped shape us on our spiritual journey.
Advent is a period of waiting; looking forward to a savior we most desperately need, despite the difficulties that we might face along the way. We are given this season as a reminder to ponder and anticipate Christ’s coming. It is what Father Barron describes as “active waiting.” We are not meant to do nothing, but rather we are challenged to tune our hearts to the voice of God during this time of preparation. Similarly, I have to wait and continue my studies for another two years to receive my direct transfer to a four-year university. I’m only an eighth of the way there, but I intend to seek the Lord with a heart full of hope and determination. I will not let this be a wasted opportunity for me to grow and be present to others. I’m reassured by the fact that with every step of the way, I’m being held by the One who created me.
I like to recall the words of St. Paul to “rejoice always”. At first, I was a bit confused. How could someone rejoice always, especially during their hardships? It is because their hope is in Jesus Christ, the one who is stronger than sin and death. All of us, myself included, get so caught up with our plans that we forget to ask what God wants. His plans for us is always greater than we can ever imagine, and yet all we have to do place our trust and hope in Him every day.
We have only a few days remaining until the Advent season is over. I am thankful for God’s graces in my life, even though I don’t recognize them most of the time. I pray for all you who are struggling with the sense of being lost or lonely. Take heart; you are being held by the arms of God the Father through all of this.
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
Copyright 2014 Chloe Batara