By Erin Horomanski
The past nine months of my post college graduate life have easily been the hardest and most excruciating months of my life. I thought term papers, final exams and all the stresses and commitments of college life were hard. I never took seriously the words my college professor told me, "The first year of ministry is your survival year. Get through it. Don't give up.
"Rejoice in the crosses that the Lord places on your back."
After graduation, I took a job in Southern California as a Campus Minister and thought that this would be the perfect career, with the perfect community, living in the perfect place with perfect weather. I was ready for a blank slate, adventure and for new opportunities to grow. I knew that this was where God was calling me, but what I overlooked was His intention and hidden plan for the drastic move and change of speed.
"Adulting." It's a new verb in our society. "The act of engaging in responsible actions and tasks that makes you feel like a real adult."
It is a reality that all of a sudden hits us in the face and knocks us off our steady beam.
Life was all glitzy and glam at first: the beautiful beach weather, the laid back lifestyle, getting paid to go on retreats with teens biweekly and the myriad of activities to do and sites to see. Then with no warning, I fell off the cliff. The dozen of "likes" from my Facebook followers, the daily texts from my closest friends and promised weekly phone calls and letters suddenly faded into an empty screen of disappointment. Most of all, the move hit when I realized I spent more time with myself than I ever have before. I found myself having no adventure companion.
When I would witness a breath-taking SoCal view that no Instagram picture could quite capture, I had no one to share the perfect moment with.
My "perfect job" became the largest ache in my back, authentic community was no where to be found, and the only thing that stood true about what I thought moving to California would be like was the perfect weather, which was still left me unfulfilled. It was then that it hit me.
I was alone. I was empty.
In this weeks Gospel, Luke shares that Christ leads the disciples out as far as Bethany (which for them... this was no easy stroll down the street). They were alone, outside of their comfort zone, completely vulnerable. Once he got the disciples far from Jerusalem, He "raised His hand, blessed them, departed from them and was taken up to Heaven." Here is where I think the story gets crazy. The disciples, "returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple praising God."
Say what. The King of the universe just left the disciples alone and they spend their days rejoicing?
Looking back on this year, though it was painful, I would not trade it for anything. I didn't know what type of "growth" the Lord had in store for me, but these crosses upon my back have left me rejoicing and praising God each and every day, just as the disciples did.
I have learned more about myself in the past nine months than I had in my four years of college. I reached my goal of becoming healthy, losing 35 pounds and completing my first half marathon. I finally read all those books I planned to read in college. I am mentally and emotionally stronger and more in-touch with my identity. I have become the most genuine and authentic version of myself to date. I have conquered something that most people will never get to and I continue to conquer it every day.
I'm ready for the next adventure that God has in store for me.
Adulting is a funny word and an even crazier adventure. My advice? Rejoice. Give thanks daily. You are doing just fine. "Holiness is not for wimps and the Cross isn't negotiable, sweetheart, it's a requirement." - Mother Angelica.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erin graduated from Franciscan University with a degree in Theology and Catechetics. Starting in June she will be taking the role of Associate Youth Minister at St. Ann's Catholic Church in Coppell, Texas. She is a big fan of drinking copious amounts of coffee, Disneyland, wearing chacos at all times, personal fitness, Grey's Anatomy, and adventuring through life with Christ by her side.