“Do not conform to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing, and perfect”
My name is Andrea. I can, in almost all aspects, be considered a completely average teenage girl. I am of average intelligence, average appearance, below average height, and of fairly average talent. I came from a Catholic family and I went to Catholic school for 9 years, but for most of my life I would have also been considered an average Catholic. And an average Catholic, as depicted by society, is one simply in title and not in practice. To me, Mass was “eh” and the Eucharist was a nice snack break amidst the “eh” and Jesus and the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary were also “eh” + a little bit of “whatever”. There were moments where I felt touched by God, where I felt some glint of divinity in the Eucharist or in the stories of the Saints, but two seconds later I would see a cute boy and that precious glimpse of truth would go flying out the window.
It wasn’t until a little over a year ago that I made a pledge to take the “average” out of my life. And it has been the most difficult affirmation I have ever made. I believe the Bible verse at the beginning of this entry is so incredibly applicable to all young adults, especially myself. Because truly, we are young ADULTS. Teenagers are completely capable of making life altering decisions and of affecting people in profound ways. It’s easy for us to avoid that fact. What we do is beyond the scope of our individual personhood. Our thoughts and actions not only affect ourselves, our friends and our families, but they affect the Salvation of the world. We are that important.
Yes. It just got real.
You might be thinking that I’m some intense zealot sitting in my bedroom chugging sacrificial lamb blood while watching EWTN and blasting Gregorian chant. But like I said, I only immersed myself in the Catholic faith about a year ago. And oh was it a rocky journey.
The story of my deeper conversion begins with my move from Minnesota to Alabama right before my sophomore year of high school. And let me put this out there, moving in high school may not be a huge deal for a lot of people but I felt like it was literally the end of my life. When I found out I was moving to Alabama I figured I would be living in Cowtown, U.S.A fighting off stray farm animals and racists. But it turns out, the suburb I was living in was not much different than the one I had lived in in Minnesota. Only the climate was much more humid, wood roaches were everywhere, and cicadas wouldn’t shut up at night.
My first year in Alabama was the most difficult year of my life thus far. I had promised myself that I wouldn’t bother with making friends or being social because I was just going to leave and go back to Minnesota or somewhere that wasn’t Alabama in three years anyways. But that didn’t quite work out. Because every person yearns to feel united with someone else. And I just couldn’t fight that desire to be desired. And so high school turned out to be not that bad. I was really involved with theatre, going to competitions and even writing and directing a play my senior year. Theatre was my life in high school. That was where I belonged and that was where I was accepted and praised.
Religion was not a huge priority to me at that point in my life. However, it’s almost impossible to move to the South and ignore all of the raging “Bible thumpers”. The largest Baptist Church in my suburb seemed like the size of the Mall of America. And I’m pretty sure it had just as much parking. Thankfully, I made friends with a girl who was in several of my classes who was very active in the local Catholic Church’s youth group. So I thought hey, if everyone has their own little Church cliques, maybe I should join in on the fun. So I went to a few events now and then but mainly just the “fun” stuff and none of the boring “Jesus” stuff. That just wasn’t for me. I was a free-minded artist. I wouldn’t be one of those close-minded, ignorant Christians.
So for much of high school, if I went to mass it was solely for “God points”. I figured, if there is a heaven, and if God exists I can just go to mass and daydream for an hour and then God would give me anything I wanted because I was being good and going to church. FALSE. That is not how it works. If you think that’s how Church works, you are sorely mistaken. I had to learn that lesson the hard way.
I cannot wait to continue this story but for now, I’m just going to have to leave you hanging because it’s 12:07 am and I have class at 9:oo am. And if I don’t get what I deem an appropriate amount of sleep, I will cry. I’m serious. Sleep is important to me.
Okay so GOODNIGHT!