My thoughts and reflections on my Catholic Faith, Fulton Sheen, the problem of suffering, and books

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Grateful for Life-Lessons Learned at Christendom

I've tried many times in the past three months to look at my college years in an objective manner; but I guess I don't have the necessary perspective or distance yet.

At my alma mater, Christendom College, 123 new students began their college career eight days ago.  Meanwhile, the 99 alumni that graduated in May are scattered around the globe: some at home, some of them relieved that they're not going to school, some of them happily married, some of them beginning an upcoming school year by teaching instead of being taught, some of them in the seminary, and still others busy looking for a job.

Then there are those of us alumni who--in addition to looking for a job--are faced with a choice.

photograph (c) Emily C. Hurt, August 16, 2012
WARREN HASTY CARROLL
MAR. 24, 1932 - JULY 17, 2012
Founding President
Truth Exists.
The Incarnation Happened.
"You have done a great work for the Church"--Bl. John Paul II

I was sitting by Dr. Carroll's grave on Wednesday, August 15, the Feast of the Assumption, and I realized something...thanks to the Blessed Mother and to Dr. Carroll for this realization:


I can either look back at my college years with regret for the classes I didn't take, didn't pay attention to, or didn't appreciate; the professors I only had for one semester; and the times I studied instead of hanging out with friends;
OR
I can look back at my college years with gratitude for the friends I made, the professors who were always there for me, and the many, many things I did learn.
I'm trying my hardest to stick with the second choice, to be grateful for the time I had at Christendom; so here's my gratitude list:
· I graduated.  I have a Bachelor's Degree in Theology, despite the lousy grades of my last semester of Senior Year.  I credit the now-Venerable Fulton Sheen for helping me pass American Film last semester (the final was on Sheen's birthday, and there were two questions about him on the test).
· I made a lot of friends—a big achievement, for a shy, sheltered homeschooler.  [And in this case, “sheltered” is not just a common misconception about homeschoolers; I personally lived a very sheltered life, due to a complicated family situation.]  I can think of several people—both my fellow classmates and underclassmen—whose friendship, I am sure, will last far beyond the time (whether it was one semester or eight) during which we were roommates, wing-mates, or study-buddies.
· An Awesome Professor taught me more about life, suffering, honesty, communication, and the importance of self-knowledge during the last semester of my college career than I learned during my entire four years at Christendom.  Some of these lessons—which will stick with me for the rest of my life, even though I forgot a lot of the "book learning" of Christendom—include:
o "Never be afraid to say exactly what's on your mind," (aka "Honesty is the best policy").
o Sometimes the only thing you can do for friends who are suffering is to "be there" and listen to them.
o Prayers always help your suffering friends, even when you feel like you are doing nothing for them.
o Platitudes became platitudes because there's a measure of truth in them, (even if I do want to throw a brick at the people that tell me "I'm sure you'll be fine").
o “If you can hang in there, fight the good fight through the rough patches, everything will be more than OK in the end—everything will be awesome.”  (And that is not a platitude, because it came from this man’s heart and from his own experience.)
·  I was able to attend daily Mass.  That doesn’t mean I actually went to Mass every day; I threw that opportunity away many times; but especially during my last semester, I realized that daily Mass is the only place that I can get the grace and the strength that I need to make it through each day.  And I miss it that much more now that I do not have that opportunity.
·  I put down very solid roots; Christendom College gave me firm ground to stand on, especially when many other things were falling down around my years.  And even though I had to leave the physical campus of Christendom, I still have firm ground to stand on in my Catholic Faith, which Christendom strengthened; the friendships that Christendom encouraged and nurtured; and the knowledge—both "book learning" and "life lessons"—that my four years at Christendom College gave me.
God Love y'all!

Yours in all things Theological,
Hurt-ey