In the Catholic lifestyle that I lived in as a youth, the answer I commonly received from school teachers, my parents, and other elder figures alike when I approached them with problems was to pray and talk to God. So, like any unquestioning child of Catholic faith, I did just that. I tried to speak with God, and I tried to pray, but I never heard anything, and I never felt anything. The solutions to my problems would either not be worked out, or they would once I started to look for solutions myself. Did God guide me to find those solutions? Or was that my free will doing that?
Like I talked about in a previous post, my mother used to sprinkle holy water onto me, especially during times of struggle. She told me that she was blessing me with God’s grace and he would help guide me. Well, where that lead me in life, well, to water. In my early 20’s, I was a college dropout, working for a nearby pool service company. A life following God ended up leading me astray.
Throughout life, I continued to try to take my mothers advice and turn towards God’s ever so dim light when I had problems. By the grace of my good grades in school, and the fact that I went to Catholic school definitely helped me get into Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, CA. This was a Catholic school, and somehow, I just kept continuing with a “Catholic education,” just like I have done since I was in the 1st grade.
The first year of college turned out to be rather grey. After being in the Catholic lifestyle for so long, a year of me making a big move to a new city to go experience a new environment made me feel uncomfortable when not much else seemed to change. I was around the same type of people I had been my whole life. There were a lot of devout Christian folk, and just because of where we went to school, everyone was pretty open about faith and turning to God often. It was so often, that you could see people regularly praying all over campus. Whether it be in the cafeteria praying before a meal or sitting in the field holding hands in prayer, this isn’t what I expected college to be.
I started to try to avoid the topic of religion around people, hoping it didn’t come up, I was starting to get annoyed with the focus on God and the Lord and whatnot. I wanted to focus on my academia and study of Anthropology. Well, I guess I probably went to the wrong school if I wanted to study topics of evolution because even in the Anthropology classrooms, people would talk about how God’s guidance led the Australopithecus species towards the characteristics gained through evolution over thousands of years becoming human. Now, while I thought that the Adam and Eve talk would be done with since we were in college, I was disappointed to find out this was even a topic of discussion among my peers in class. Some would argue that Adam and Eve were the first homo sapiens. Others would argue that Adam and Eve were the first species of homo that started to use vocal language at all. My opinion was, what the hell does religion have to do with any of this class?
It was at this point, I decided I needed an out from school, and I started to spend a lot of time off campus. I prayed to God that all this God talk would stop in the classroom, God didn’t answer that prayer. I prayed that someone would approach me with a job, I didn’t get that one either. It wasn’t until I started to go out and search for a job that I found one as a pool cleaner in the East Bay.
While on the job, I was doing a lot of praying and trying to talk to God. I started to feel like I was never getting any answers. I was juggling school and work, and praying that I could handle them both. All this praying and praying, what did it get me? I started failing classes and decided I shouldn’t continue with school right now, but I continued to pray it would be better.
All this time praying throughout my life, what has it got me to this point? I started to feel as if the praying was wasting a lot of my time and if I was being productive with my time instead of praying, maybe I would start to get more results with life than I was getting. I decided to not pray for a while and focus on working hard and see what that did for me. It did pretty well….