Oh the beauty of peer pressure! Not a line I usually use, but in some cases peer pressure can be a glorious thing.
Yesterday was the feast day of St. Scholastica, one of our main patron saints here at Benedictine, along with her brother St. Benedict. Well, I had forgotten it was her feast day, and since my mornings usually consist of me rolling out of bed at the last possible second and then rushing to get to class on time, I hadn’t checked my e-mail to see that there was an all-school Mass in her honor at 10 a.m. Well, I got out of my morning class at 9:50 and ran into a few of my friends who asked if I was going to Mass—I thought they were talking about 12:05 and so I told them no because I have a noon seminar. As I left the FAC a couple other people asked me if I was going to Mass—I found this extremely strange for a couple reasons: first of all, I can usually go until 1 p.m. without talking to more than two people and secondly, no one usually cares about when I go to Mass. Once I actually paid attention to my surroundings, I noticed a flood of people heading toward the Abbey. I was extremely confused and I started to worry that it was a Holy Day of Obligation which I had completely forgotten about. Therefore, when the next person I ran into asked if I was going to Mass, I just gave in and said I was. Peer pressure done right, my friends.
It wasn’t until Prior James welcomed us to Mass did I find out that it was not a Holy Day but rather just a feast day of an awesome saint (I guess I could’ve just asked someone, but after being Catholic for 22 years, it’s a little embarrassing to be unsure about Holy Days…). Anyway, right then I was just overcome with happiness that I went to BC—I mean where else would I be pressured into going to Mass just because everyone else was doing it?
So how does this story tie into the quote I chose to write about? Well, during that Mass I really felt that being at this school was allowing me to be the best version of myself, and to be who I truly wanted to be. I don’t think going to college or to BC has changed who I am, but it has helped me become me. A man named William Sloan said what he wanted to gain from reading was for the story to “tell me more about me. I want to be more alive. Give me me”—this is what I want from life. I want it to make me me.
Now, this is not a quick process. I’m not going to wake up one day and say, “Hey! I’m exactly who I should be!”—one, I would completely freak out my roommate because I am never chipper in the morning, and two because that’s just not how it works. To become me it takes struggles, it takes tears, hurts ,screams and moments of coming dang near to giving up—it doesn’t sound fun, but the reason this makes me me is because it challenges me to be exactly who I want to be in the worst of situations. An Olympic athlete doesn’t become that by competing against the easiest opponents, but by defeating the hardest—by overcoming the toughest of struggles.
While I know this all is true, it’s a little discouraging at times. I mean, the rule of life really should be if I’m a good person, good things should happen to me and I will be happy—this seems like the fairest option in my mind. Well, unfortunately the world doesn’t play by the rules I create in my mind, and good people are not always rewarded the way we think they should be. But there has to be a way for us to be happy. I know God never gives us something we can’t handle, and I truly don’t believe he will never put us in a position where being happy is not a possibility. So how do we obtain this happiness?
Lately, like all of you I hope, I have been glued to the Olympics (if you are not, I seriously hope you take a good long look at your life choices and then change them). It doesn’t matter what sport is on, I will watch it ,and besides hockey, obviously, I can’t say I have a favorite Olympic sport. Well, while watching the Olympics, the same thought often comes to mind: “Man, if I could just be an Olympic (enter sport of choice here), I would be so happy,” and really, I probably would be. If I had the ability to win gold in an Olympic sport, I would be stoked. However, to the shock of most of you, I don’t have the ability or the means to be an Olympic athlete, and there was really no time in my life where I made a choice to either go on the track to be an Olympian or to not be—it just wasn’t an option. So does that mean I am never going to be able to be happy because I did not dedicate my time to be an awesome snowboarder? Well, I hope not because that would really suck. Good thing I don’t think that’s how God would let things go down.
When I look at the Olympians I think that if only I was better at life I could be as happy as them, but that’s not it, as the quote says it is not about becoming better but about allowing yourself to be you’ve always been. There are so many fears and doubts holding me back from being me, but unless I embrace the person God wants me to be, the person He created me to be, it will be difficult to be truly happy because I will basically be fighting against myself—and in that fight I will never win.
The quote above by Amy Rubin sums up my college experience very nicely, I’m finally allowing myself to become who I’ve always been. And so, as my darling friend Abbey Barry always says and I’ve said here before, “Be who you are” and never stop trying to discover and reveal more about you.