Maybe it was the long hours. Or the women who shouted, flapping their arms, with their heads tossed back, making public displays out of something I thought should be felt personally.
Or maybe it was simply because in my childish selfishness I could think of other ways to spend my Sundays. Either way, I simply was not thrilled to be in church. The hardwood of those straight-backed pews dug into my bottom, my legs itched in those white tights, and I was forbidden to move by my grandmother.
I continued this way, passively acknowledging God and his presence, until about 8 months ago. I didn’t have some crazy accident where my life flashed before my eyes and I left my body to watch the scene only to be tapped on the shoulder, spin around, and be face to face with the Man himself. Nope. In fact, I don’t even have a singular experience to attribute my religion to. It kind of just happened.
One night I was struggling in all of my classes, my best friend and I had fought, my
boyfriend and I had fought, my roommates and I all hated each other, and I was dangling from my wit’s end! It began as me just talking to myself. I mean, I was thinking the words but my lips were definitely moving. Not wanting to look crazy in front of my roommates, I just told them I was praying. And then, not wanting to make God an accomplice in my lie I had to actually pray. And the results were tremendous. I felt…calmer but more importantly, I felt taken care of.
I began to make praying a daily habit. However, the only prayer I knew at the time was “now I lay me down to sleep” and I was feeling much too grown (having just started college and thus, escaped from under the thumb of my parents) to say that one. So, I simply talked and made God the audience.
I would ask Him for strength or patience and would immediately feel a peace I could never have achieved by trying to shoulder my own struggles. I no longer felt the need to stress the incidents I was praying about. It felt as if it was already taken care of as soon as I muttered, “amen.”
In college where stress is abundant due to grades, roommates, missing your family, and finding yourself, a way to cope is critical. My point is not to force religion on you, I know people who work out or play a videogame, but to point out how helpful it has been in helping me with my first year of college. And for those of you who are a little iffy about looking to God because maybe you never went to church, or wasn’t raised in religion, I just want to point out that my most common thought in church, when I was 9, was: If I had to do this every Sunday, I would lose my mind and flap my arms too! Yet, here I am, every Sunday. Minus the white tights, of course!
Give HOPE. Live HOPE.
About the Author
Tianna Manon is a first-year student at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, N.Y., double-majoring in journalism and political science. Manon also the managing editor at TALKBACK4Teens, a site that allows youth to voice their opinions about various social/personal issues. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, even it’s just through a great break. Follow her @TiannaManon