“May the saddest day of your future be no worse than the happiest day of your past.” – Irish Blessing

You know that feeling when New Year’s Day is just around the corner and everyone is talking about “New Year, New Me” and all of their resolutions, and you just can’t think of anything for yourself? I was in that boat this past December. Christmas came and went, and suddenly, the new year was upon me. I’m not really one to care about resolutions; I know I won’t stick to them, so why bother, right? This year though was different.

I was stuck. Mentally I could not figure myself out. I had begun my first semester of college, I was excelling in my classes, I was making new friends, keeping my truest friends close. Wasn’t that enough? And yet, in all of that success and excitement, I had lost myself. I faced heartache like never before. I hurt people through my words and actions, never meaning to, but seeing the effects after the deeds could not be taken back. All of this, while sitting at home over Christmas break, swamped my mind. It was so hard to live with myself. How could I be happy, if I didn’t know what made me happy? And that was the question that propelled me down a path I would have never seen coming.

Dedication. I needed and desired dedication in my life. So often I dedicate myself to other people, whether they be friends, colleagues, boys, anyone I find worthy, I’d dedicate myself to them. But I never once dedicated myself to me. Put my best foot forward, for myself. That was, initially, what I thought was missing. So I told myself, I was dedicating 2017 to finding myself. To find out, “Who am I?”

I didn’t get an easy start. Why should I have thought I might? I had such pains, coming back to school to deal with issues of the previous semester. Oddly enough, it went better than I could have imagined, and as a plus, someone whom I had lost in my life, was once more back in, and I could accept our relationship as it was. Simply friends. But I felt no better. I was still floundering in a lulling despair. No fog began to lift, until I stumbled upon a book my mother had hidden amongst my packed things back in August. I first saw the book and smiled. It was so like my mom, to hide spiritual books or trinkets for me to find. Not that I didn’t love my faith, but sometimes, it felt like I was being oppressed with writings about my faith. I was so tempted to just toss the book back in the box where it came from, when I couldn’t recall what it was even about. Being half curious, I read the inside flap. I was so caught off guard by what I read. The words swam on the page as I was honestly struck with such emotion, I teared up. Words I thought to myself stared up at me, but they were the thoughts someone else had had. “I realized how much things had changed – how much I had changed – since I first arrived at my freshman dorm that muggy August move in day. I had lost something. I didn’t know what it was or how to get it back. I only knew that this aching emptiness in the pit of my stomach had grown unbearable.” Colleen Carroll Campbell had had 3 years under her belt at college before she came to the conclusion that set her on a life-changing journey that led her to writing her spiritual memoir “My Sisters the Saints”. Knowing someone else struggled with the same despair I felt, was comforting.

I followed Campbell’s lead and started my own spiritual journey. I began to journal, at the end of each week, about the struggles I may have been facing, or the triumphs I conquered. It helped, journaling my troubles and writing my questions to God. It motivated me to keep up reading “My Sisters the Saints” and it made me re-center my focus in life. But it wasn’t enough.

When sharing about my decision to dedicate this year to finding the me God wanted me to be, Sister Barb asked if I would be interested in sharing my journey as I progressed on it. Talking about it in front of people was one thing. You give little snippets here and there, you can leave out the deep, heart-wrenching details and questions, because they would never know. But I was being asked to put myself out there, no hiding, and publish my weekly journals and questions for anyone and everyone to read. I told her I would think it over and see if we could talk. I really thought on it and in two days, I had my answer.

Yes.

I needed to do this. While it’s terrifying to a degree to put yourself out there for others to see, I knew, this was more of the path I needed to take. Because just like Campbell’s book connected to me and helped me get on a path to finding myself, I may just be that voice for someone else. And I may never know if I am, and that’s OK. I just know, I’m doing what’s right… what feels like the path I need to take. And so, that’s how I’ve come to write this long winded entry.

Starting next week, I’ll be on a what I hope becomes my more typical blogging style of letting you in on my reflections from the week before. Thanks for reading and God bless.

Romans 8:6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.

Frances Boggs

Frances Boggs is a Freshman from Marysville, Ohio. She is double majoring in History and Young Adult Education.

 

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