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When I was a little older, around 13, I started feeling very anxious in church. I hated going because my body would feel restless and so uncomfortable. I would pretend to be asleep on the occasional Sunday when we didn't have a sports tournament so I wouldn't have to go.

Most of the time it worked, even though I'm sure my parents knew I was faking it! However, in eighth grade we went to Washington D. In between seeing multiple monuments and historical sites, we visited a church. It was probably a cathedral, based on the size and grandeur of it. I remember tilting my head as far back as it could go and seeing wall after wall of gorgeous stained glass. I remember it being so colorful and magical with the sun streaming through. I was overwhelmed with what felt like God.

I left the building feeling joyous, like I wanted to jump up and down singing. I remember saying, "That made me want to be a better person. Despite this stand-out moment, my attention to religion and spirituality steadily dwindled as I entered high school.

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I went on to get confirmed, but that was more like checking something off my to-do list than something I was invested in. Despite that, my grandmother, who was my confirmation sponsor and to this day is the most religious person I know, said something that stuck with me. After I was confirmed she gave me a big hug and earnestly said, "I hope you have this as a comfort for you throughout your life. I know I have. College is a time of exploration in multiple areas of life, including spirituality.

A lot of students utilize this time of life to expose themselves to new faiths, get a deeper understanding of the history of the faith they grew up in, or join clubs that practice spirituality in a multitude of ways. I experienced a lot of personal growth during college, but in terms of faith, religion and spirituality, it was not a priority for me.

I certainly did not spend time building a relationship with God.

Relationships and Spiritual Adulthood with Marianne Williamson

While that is a focus for some college students, my time in college was focused on my personal life in the "here and now" rather than on something greater than or more abstract. At the same time, I was aware of my spiritual stagnancy, even while it was happening. This was especially the case during my last year of college. I was talking to my mom about Mass and I said to her, "I honestly don't remember the last time I went to Mass I think it had to have been high school!

Turning to God, religion or spirituality for comfort, as my grandma had mentioned, has become more important recently.

Religion, Spirituality, and Development in Adulthood

Currently, I picture God as someone you talk to and depend on during hard times. During college, I had that sort of relationship with the people in my life, rather than an abstract being. One person in particular I was always able to talk to and lean on in times of need.

That person was available, an excellent listener, nonjudgmental, and made me feel validated, heard and comforted. Since moving across the country to New York City, I don't have access to this relationship in the same way I did when I was in college, and I find myself yearning for that sort of support. Before, the idea of talking to the air about what I was going through and what I needed was the farthest thing I was going to try. I continued to stare at it as I began to wonder how long it would burn on its own. It seemed to burn more brightly than it had in the middle of the great flame from which it had fallen … for a moment.

It then began to simmer low and it seemed to be slowly dying. Now fully interested in this one little branch, I added a little lighter fluid so that it could continue to burn on its own, and it seemed to help. The now weak little flame began to burn a little brighter in the strength of the flammable liquid.

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However, it soon began to burn low and seemed to dwindle. As I studied it more carefully I noticed that the cold breeze that blew around me started to weaken the burning flame on the small branch. Then a very light rain began to fall over me and I saw the flame disappear, leaving the stick practically dead but for a few coals that crowned its charred end.

I turned back to the fire and saw that the cold wind and rain had not daunted the great flame in the smallest degree. It continued to burn just as brightly through it all. I then reached out, picked up the pitiful stick and returned it to the fire where it began to burn brighter than it had before. After these events had taken place, they made me consider my own life.

I began to see a parallel between my own life and that of the little branch. I considered my relationship with God and my brothers and sisters in Christ. I saw that when I stood alone in my relationship with God that I began to dwindle spiritually. I would be encouraged by a great sermon or words from a fellow brother and would change my ways, for a short time.

Then the cares of the world and other non-believers around me would weaken me, distract me, tempt me. This happened to me over several years.


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My mind free from any thought or care, I just sat there as the colorful lights danced upward from the pile of sticks and logs in front of me. As I sat there unthinking, my eyes turned slightly to see a small stick fall away from the rest, leaving its still-burning end pointed away from the fire and exposed to the cold air.

I continued to stare at it as I began to wonder how long it would burn on its own. It seemed to burn more brightly than it had in the middle of the great flame from which it had fallen … for a moment. It then began to simmer low and it seemed to be slowly dying. Now fully interested in this one little branch, I added a little lighter fluid so that it could continue to burn on its own, and it seemed to help.


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The now weak little flame began to burn a little brighter in the strength of the flammable liquid. However, it soon began to burn low and seemed to dwindle. As I studied it more carefully I noticed that the cold breeze that blew around me started to weaken the burning flame on the small branch. Then a very light rain began to fall over me and I saw the flame disappear, leaving the stick practically dead but for a few coals that crowned its charred end.

I turned back to the fire and saw that the cold wind and rain had not daunted the great flame in the smallest degree.

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It continued to burn just as brightly through it all. I then reached out, picked up the pitiful stick and returned it to the fire where it began to burn brighter than it had before. After these events had taken place, they made me consider my own life. I began to see a parallel between my own life and that of the little branch. I considered my relationship with God and my brothers and sisters in Christ.

I saw that when I stood alone in my relationship with God that I began to dwindle spiritually. I would be encouraged by a great sermon or words from a fellow brother and would change my ways, for a short time.