By Hilary Froelich
By the time Thursday hits, I am always exhausted. Between my new job as a youth minister, preparing for graduate classes, and living at home, constantly surrounded by family, I find that time for myself and quiet thoughts is almost non-existent. Spending time with God is something that I like to spend a decent chunk of time doing. I like going for walks, journaling, singing; really anything that gives me more than just a brief second talking to God. I know that if I don’t have that chunk of time, I tend to fill my time with Netflix or Instagram; things that, in the long run, don’t really matter.
“And he kept trying to see him.”
When I don’t have time for Jesus, it’s pretty hard to clearly see Him. But how do I find a way to see Him, when my world is constantly in motion? Sometimes I miss the opportunities I had in college to spend in prayer. Actually, I miss them all the time. My senior year at John Carroll University, I spent 8 days of my winter break in silence, as a participant on John Carroll’s 8 Day Silent Retreat. Each day I was able to walk the beautiful grounds and I always made a point to walk through the stations of the cross near the back of the property. Every single time I walked around in that circle, following the story of Jesus’ death, I found myself crying. How was it that Jesus was so willing to give up everything, give up His life, so that we could continue to live and to have faith?
I get so caught up in things, in “vanities,” so much so that I don’t always give my faith the attention it needs.
I’ve been thinking about that a lot recently; how I don’t find time for our faith and so instead I just turn to other things to fill that void. Shouldn’t there be a way for me to always see Him, every day, in everything? I just started as a youth minister in the parish where I grew up. My programs are just beginning, and I’m loving getting to spend time with the students, learning about their lives, and helping them to grow. As a youth minister, sometimes it’s hard to take time for my own faith, because faith is a part of my job.
That should make it easier to have time for my faith, right?
But instead of focusing on mine, I’m focusing on my youth group members, on how they can better see Him. I want to be able to grow myself, to keep finding ways to keep my faith alive, for me, but also for the junior high and high school kids I’m working with. So I’ve decided to start looking at the people around me. Instead of looking at a screen, I’m looking at faces; I’m trying to find Jesus in the people around me.
One of my housemates from my year of service with Amate House makes it a point to call me at least every other week. These phone calls have kept our friendship strong, and every time we hang up, I’m reminded of the joy that exudes from my housemate everywhere she goes. If people were really looking at her, even just as they see her walking down the street, I’m positive that they would see Jesus in her.
That is what I have been trying to do each day – truly look at the people around me and find their inner joy.
As I’m walking in my neighborhood, or talking to my co-workers I try to see them, I try to see people as Jesus would see them – full of life, light, and love. I don’t let my mind wander to my ever-growing to-do list, or what plans I need to make for later that night as I’m talking to people. I focus in more on what they are saying, and how they’re saying it so that I’m fully present for them. Seeing people in the light that Jesus sees them makes me stand a little taller, see the sun streaming from the sky, and love pouring out from people.
It’s just like Thomas Merton says, “There is no way of telling people they are all walking around shining like the sun.”
I think if I keep looking up, and finding Jesus’ love and light shining out of people, I will no longer just be trying to see Him, but always finding Him right in front of me.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hilary graduated from John Carroll University in 2014 with a BA in English Literature, and after a year of service with Amate House and a year at John Carroll as a Resident Minister, she has begun working on a Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology from St. Joseph’s College of Maine. Hilary is also the Youth Minister at St. Joseph Parish in Sylvania, OH. In her free time, Hilary enjoys buying and reading books, eating ice cream, yoga, spending time with her family, friends, and boyfriend, and collecting quotes for her quote wall.