By Dominic Gideon
The first semester of my freshman year in college I went to the doctor for a routine checkup and, little did I know, but I was in for a minor existential crisis. After the doctor’s assistant measured my height and my weight and asked all the thrilling questions about my life, the doctor came in for the usual checkup discussion. During the conversation, as the doctor flipped through the pages on his clip board, he casually mentioned, “well you’re done growing, so…” he continued on with some boring health jargon, but my mind was fixated on that first part—
I’m done growing?
Now, this shouldn’t have been such a shock since I hadn’t really grown in the three years prior, but I was holding on to the hope that a growth spurt was still in the works. I mean, I had reason to hope: I never went through the growing spree that my peers had, I heard that some men supposedly don’t stop growing until they reach twenty-six, and, according to my grandpa’s fabled story, my dad had a prolific college growth spurt.
So when my doctor came and crushed that lingering glimmer of hope, it shook all five feet and six inches of my being. Though part of it was spurred by a vain masculine desire, the main reason why this news hit me so hard was the drastic shift from a constant incline of bodily growth, which I’ve experienced since birth, to the flatline of adulthood. Having to enter into this state of constancy frightened me. I’m decades away from possibly having a mid-life crisis, but I think I got a taste of it after hearing the doctor’s dreaded words.
This state of constancy which I have experienced (one of the many realities of adulthood they don’t warn you about) is less novel than that of my teenage years in which I transitioned to the brand-new world of adulthood with all its broad horizons and thrilling potential. Yes, my teenhood was also filled with many stresses and terrors, but it was exciting nonetheless. However, as I have figured more and more out,
I’ve realized I can push past the discovery stage and dive deeper into the different areas of my life.
After going through all the growth and change of puberty and the ensuing teenage years, now I can more fully understand how I eat, sleep, drink, work out, etc.
This is so true in terms of my spiritual life, too. In high school, I encountered so much new and fascinating content. From theology class to youth group, my faith drastically expanded due to all that I learned and experienced. And my first year of seminary was also a period of great influx of novel ideas and experiences to the extent that, at times, I felt overwhelmed by it all. But as the novelty of my spiritual life has worn off, I’ve undergone something even more magnificent.
In a state of constancy, I’ve been able to dig deeper into my faith and my relationship with Jesus which, turns out, is way better than the initial excitement of discovery. While the rush of encountering a new theological concept or spiritual fruit is great, the true growth comes in the months and the years after through prayer, reflection, and experience.
Constancy in not nearly as flashy or exhilarating as the state of exterior growth, but it’s the time when one really reaps the rewards of that initial growth.
Finding out about the magnificence and awe of the Eucharist was mind-blowing; however, it has been in those countless trips up the Communion line and in those silent hours of intimacy with the Blessed Sacrament that I have truly been transformed.
So following my early-life crisis, I’ve come to terms with my short stature and this less stimulating state of constancy; because while my exterior growth has ended, the interior growth is limitless and far more fulfilling.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dominic Gideon is a sophomore in college at Borromeo Seminary in the Diocese of Cleveland and takes classes at John Carroll University where he’s majoring in Creative Writing and Philosophy. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, loves his hometown, and is a passionate Cleveland sports fan no matter how great or terrible they are. Dominic has always had a passion for writing and sports throughout his life. He also enjoys listening to indie rock, spending time with friends, and most importantly, spreading the Gospel. @theCLEdomocracy @theBuckstars