Finding God in All Things
We encourage you to browse these student reflections, centered around the theme of "Finding God in All Things."
Elizabeth Reid, '12, is majoring in Spanish and psychology with minors in biology and theology. She spent her four years as a Hawk involved in Executive Board of VOICES for JUSTICE, leading a Christian Life Community (CLC), Student Ambassadors, and Orientation. She moves on from the Nest to serve as a Jesuit Volunteer in Belize City, Belize, where she will work as a social worker for Hand in Hand Ministries.
My favorite image of God comes to me through the words of Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ, in his book Tattoos on the Heart, where he describes a God who is always too busy loving who we are to spend any time being disappointed in us. Fr. Boyle reflects that the sacred place toward which God has been nudging us all our lives is not be arrived at, but simply discovered. What a freedom it is to know that we are exactly what God had in mind when God created us—right now, this day!
As my time left as a Hawk wanes with each passing exam and campus event, I’ve come to recognize that one area of my life in which God is present is my mourning. It’s taken me four years to realize it, but God has been finding me all along, working through each and every one of my experiences at Rockhurst—the intense joys, the doubts, the challenges that pushed me further than I ever could have imagined, the transformations, the frustrations that inspired me to strive for more, and especially, the beloved friendships. All of these have led me to exactly where I need to be right now, gracias a Dios. How rich that this is the life God desires for all of us: to stand on the edge of something that has been so wonderful, knowing that it fills us with great sadness to leave, while simultaneously looking ahead with excitement toward each new day, because the same God who journeyed with us up to this point will continue to accompany us through every step of the way. ¡Qué rico! God in all things.
Lynsey Riemann, '15, is majoring in communication sciences and disorders and psychology, with a minor in theology. She is an active member of a Christian Life Community (CLC), Student Activities Board (SAB), and Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority (ASA).
As a freshman here at Rockhurst, I have found God in the daily blessings God gives me, whether it be meeting a new friend or chatting with old friends on the Quad. God has been in my life to reach out to people who maybe are not following Him 100%. We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and this is exactly what my goal is at Rockhurst - for everyone to hear the Good News of the Gospel. Throughout the year, I have dived into His word and have newly found my life verse, Romans 2:12 "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will." God has called us to be like Him, not of this world and its desires. I believe that if we reach to be more like Him, we will see God in all aspects of our life each and every day.
Frank Kane, '14, is majoring in political science and philosophy. Hailing from Denver, he is involved in the Knights of Columbus, Social Mentors, CLC, and the Kansas City branch of the National Sports Center for the Disabled. He maintains an unending passion for writing and politics.
Over the years, through activities at Regis High School, ski racing, service on the board of Children’s Hospital, and various organizations here on campus (i.e. Knights of Columbus and Social Mentors), I have retained a passion for helping others embrace as unique what sets them apart as individuals. Merely in striving to help them accomplish this, I realize I have invited them to find God in their differences and handicaps and, thus, in all things. I have always believed that wherever good can be found, so too can God, and vice versa. This belief continually compels me to encounter God’s hand in an area of my life where many overlook it: my gait. Though the way in which I move is easily my most distinctive feature and does not come without certain setbacks, it remains something for which I give daily thanks to God and everyone around me. My gait more often than not allows me to bring out the best in those I love and in those whom I meet on campus each day. In bringing out the best in those I love and encounter, I am hopefully better able find God in those people whom I often find it more difficult to love and to embrace.
Meaghan Fanning, '12, is majoring in nonprofit leadership studies and theology and religious studies, as well as minoring in philosophy. She was deeply formed by her years spent on the Executive Board of VOICES for JUSTICE and leading her beloved CLC. Meaghan plans to begin a Masters in Social Work program in fall 2012.
The poet Hafiz writes, “Even after all this time, the Sun never says to the Earth, ‘You owe me.’ Look what happens with a love like that—it lights up the whole sky.” We hear the phrase “unconditional love” on a regular basis. How often do we pause to ask what this really means? To love without conditions, without limits. How could we ever do this? I take comfort in the fact that knowing and truly believing that we are made in the likeness of God and that means that we are created to love. It is God’s joy to love us, and it should be our joy to love one another. I find God in the pleasantries and drudgeries of everyday life – the life that sometimes feels like paradise and sometimes feels like we are walking against a hard, freezing wind. But within that life, every day, is the opportunity to show people around us how much we love them. Anne Lamott shares her reflections on simple love and friendship: “All you can do is show up for someone. But when you do, it can radically change everything. Your there-ness can be life giving. So you come to keep them company, even when it feels like the whole world is falling apart, and your being there says for just this moment, this one tiny piece of the world is okay.” To love is to show others God, to allow them to feel beloved on this earth.
Charli Bultmann, '14, is a biology major hailing from Carrollton, Mo. She is a Student Ambassador, member of Phi Delta Epsilon, Zeta Tau Alpha, and CLC. At this year’s Easter Vigil, Charli received her first communion and was confirmed into the Catholic Church.
It is difficult for me to pinpoint a specific moment in which I have found God, especially during this past year at Rockhurst. This year has been more of a journey on the path of creating a beautiful relationship with God for me. I have seen God while walking to classes when I see the sun shining so brightly and the sky hovering above me in its rich blue color. I have especially become aware of God lately in the budding of new life in the trees and flowers all over campus. But God is not only present in these things; this year, more than ever, I have seen God in the people in my life. My family, close friends, and even acquaintances have been compassionate and thoughtful in ways I never realized before. It is every person around me that makes me see God. He is in all of us in one way or another. I believe that it is our experiences with others that truly help us to find God. These experiences unite us not only as a Rockhurst community but also as a community of God.
Katherine Hoffman, '12, is a first-year doctoral student in the physical therapy program. A native of Trenton, Mo., Katherine was involved in CLC as both a leader and member, ASA and APO as an undergraduate. She also participated in two spring break service trips: one to Guatemala and one to West Virginia.
I have found God in an array of expected and unexpected moments that have been knit together to create a unique tapestry of memories. Sometimes, God appears in obvious ways like enjoying the beautiful blooming tulips and other gifts of spring in nature as I walk through campus to class each day. At times, I feel as though the warm rays of sunshine are simply God’s emanating love flowing down from above. Other times, I find God in life’s sweetest moments, for example exchanging a much-needed hug with a good Rockhurst pal after a trying day. These moments remind me not only of God’s goodness but how if I look for him I can find him in others’ actions. However, finding God doesn’t always happen in the obvious or sweet instances in life. At times, I have found God in bitter, unexpected experiences that I don’t understand. For example, I have uncovered God during service immersion trips in glimpsing the poverty of the individuals living in the place I was visiting, whether that was domestically in West Virginia or abroad in Guatemala. In these moments, I have found it important to hold the experience not trying to change it but accepting the experience for what it is and acknowledging God’s presence. It requires trust in Him and openness to his greatness to accept these moments and to add them to the diverse and beautiful tapestry of life that God is creating for me. My hope for each of you is that you embrace all of the opportunities in your life to find God. May you be open to the impact those memories can have in your life as pieces knitted into the tapestry of life that God is creating for and with you.
Theresa Kiblinger, '13, is a junior from Cape Girardeau, Mo. She is a nursing student minoring in French. She has been involved with CLC, ambassadors, Alpha Sigma Nu and French Club during. Theresa spent the 2011 Christmas break serving in Uganda and Summer 2012 serving in both Uganda and Kenya.
If we do not expect to find God in all things and look for Him in our daily lives, we can miss wonderful opportunities for help, healing, and happiness. It seems the most unexpected and unusual times, when I am not outwardly searching for God, are the times when He becomes the most present in my life. Recently, I have learned to find God when I stumble off of His path or fall into sin. It is through my failings that I turn to God even more for acceptance, grace, and mercy. I have quickly realized that when I begin straying off of God’s path, He enters right into the mess I have created and picks me up again. These times of sin and failing, where God once again renews my life, often leave me in awe of His goodness, His powerfulness, and His relentless and unconditional love. Even though I may cause God pain and suffering, He is always there when I call on Him to pick me up, love me completely, and set me on the right path. Time and time again, that is when I find God and feel His abundant love. So I encourage you to open your hearts to the possibilities of finding God in the most unexpected places whether it is in a smile on the quad, a conversation with a friend, or even in our sins and failings because God is constantly surrounding each one of us.
Josh Goralski, '13, is from Naperville, Ill., and is studying nonprofit leadership studies, accounting and trying to fit in economics. He is involved in with student senate, various campus ministry activities, desk manager in Corcoran, and involved with the social entrepreneurship initiative.
Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in a love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the mornings, what you will do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.” Fr. Pedro Arrupe S.J.
In my two years at Rockhurst, I have felt the warmth of God’s presence and love in countless ways. I felt this as I entered Rockhurst with our entire class giving up a few hours to do service before embarking on our journey here. Additionally, I have continued to find God and fall in love with him through the retreats offered by Campus Ministry, conversations with friends, and speakers on campus like Fr. Boyle.
When I traveled to Haiti with a group of Rockhurst students over winter break, I experienced falling in love with God once again. I not only found God in the people we met, but I found God in each person in our group. I remember constantly thinking over the week our group was truly in love with helping to empower others. The group had agreed to take on a multi-year project to help the people of Duchity, Haiti. I think to myself that truly we all felt the love of God leading us to go on this trip. Throughout the whole trip, I just felt like God was there, blessing us with safe travels, productive meetings, memorable experiences that will not soon be forgotten, good weather and great conservation. There is something special when you are with a group of people that are called by a common love and are all on the journey to find God.
So, I encourage you in the spirit of Pedro Arrupe to let yourself fall in love with God.
Christiana Troupe, '12, hails from Lee's Summit,Mo. She is a self-proclaimed health nut who is pursuing a degree in finance and economics. In her college career, she has served as an ambassador, resident assistant, orientation leader, social mentor, and frosh get-a-way leader. In her future career, she has a heart to one day bring justice to victims of human trafficking and participate in global development initiatives.
In the past few months, God has been teaching me how to find Him in my weakness. Weakness. Not exactly a word with a positive connotation, but let me explain. My entire life, I have found it incredibly difficult to accept the idea that God loves me APART from what I do for Him, that His love is completely free. For this reason, I have only ever known striving – striving to earn God’s love and approval that I already have. No matter how irrational, I’ve operated from the belief that if I could perform well enough, I could somehow earn what I knew I could never deserve. And I would continually fall flat on my face, feeling ever more distant from Him with each stride to “be enough.”
A few months ago, I was confronted with the reality that all along I had been striving to do instead of be. What I had lost sight of is that “Jesus lived the life we could not live and died the death we should have died.” Not only do I not have to earn His love, but I couldn’t even if I wanted to - HE has made me worthy. Because I accept this truth, He calls me His daughter and that is who I am, regardless of whether I feel it. It is TRUTH.
Since then, God has been taking me on a journey of learning how to stop the striving and just receive His free love. I have been learning to live out of the truth of who He says that I am, to be loosed of unnecessary expectations. I am being set free to love Him, not as a burden, but as a joy. I am finally free to delight in my Father as He delights over me. I am enough solely because He loves me.
Veronica Immethun, '12, is majoring in communication sciences and disorders and hopes to become a Speech-Language Pathologist.
At first, the task of writing an entry for this seemed daunting. To this day, I still struggle with the concept of God and even believing in God (scandalous, I know). As I got to thinking, I found that this is not about discussing my devotedness to everything God and Christian; it’s about finding the small things on campus that bring me, and other students, peace of mind and heart. Location is the first thing that came to mind. From on campus, Rockhurst feels safe and secluded (for me at least). If you were dropped from the sky onto campus, you would not know that you were in the middle of the city. But, Rockhurst is a haven – safe and welcoming. That definitely brings me peace. I then started to think about the people. Being a small college lends to this, but everyone makes things personal. The people here take their time to listen, understand, and help those around them, whether or not they are a student; they genuinely care about others. I found this comforting as well. So even though I am not the firmest of believers, I believe God can be found everywhere at Rockhurst through the peace of mind and kindness this university provides.
John Rios, '12, is from Dallas, Texas. He is majoring in Leadership Studies and Psychology and plans to pursue a graduate degree in Higher Education. He is a Resident Assistant, Member of the Social Mentor Steering Committee, Ambassador, and Vice President of Social Affairs in Alpha Delta Gamma.
Before coming to Rockhurst, I had no concept of the Jesuit core values or even what a Jesuit school was for that matter. Upon stepping on campus, something felt different. I didn’t know how to explain it or even how to describe it. However, in my two and a half years here I know what makes Rockhurst so distinct! It is the people. Although it is a simple and short answer, this is also where I find God at Rockhurst University. He is present in the genuine caring relationships that exist between students and staff alike. He is visible to me when Jane in the Pub greets me with a smile, when Bill Kriege asks me how I’m doing, or when I see Fr. Curran spending time with students in the cafe. Although these things are small and simple, they remind of why I came here and serve as a constant reminder that God is present here at Rockhurst. Like my response, I like to keep things simple. For, one it eliminates confusion, plus it makes it harder for the little stuff like these simple actions to go unnoticed. So maybe this is not how you find God - that is up for you to decide as this is defined by each individual. These reflections just serve as reminders that He is always present in every situation in different ways, and it is your job to find Him. I wish you good luck on your search!
Colleen Smyth, '13, is from St. Louis, Mo. She hopes major in an area of business and minor in Non-Profit Studies (maybe Theology too, if she can fit it in). Colleen is the service chair of VOICES for Justice, an active member in both Alpha Sigma Alpha and CLC, and also serves as an Ambassador.
Before you pass over this message, I invite you to take a second to just stop. Catch your breath. Let you mind rest for a second.
“God is love and love is God.” 1 John 4:8.
In order for me to find God in all things, I remember that I must find LOVE in all things. When I think about love, I am brought back to Pedro Arrupe, SJ’s poem that begins, “Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute and final way.” I believe that college is the time to discover what we are in love with from causes like Relay for Life or being more “green” to being in love with subjects like Western Civilization or Marketing to being in love with others through service or in community. However, Rockhurst is not just about learning what we are in love with but how to let that love shape our lives. As Arrupe says, “It will decide what will get you up in the morning…how you spend your weekends…what amazes you with joy and gratitude.” Who doesn’t want a life filled with love, a love that Arrupe says will even “decide what breaks your heart”? One thing that most breaks my heart is knowing that there are people on campus who doubt that they are loved or have trouble recognizing that love. In being called to act as women and men for and with others, not only do we, as a Rockhurst community, have the responsibility to find His love in all things, but more importantly, we need to be committed to share that love. I am so blessed to call myself a Rockhurst student striving to live a life that beats for others in good times and in challenging times. I pray that we always remember, “fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.“ By doing this, we will have found God in everything.
Every athlete at Rockhurst has sacrificed years of his or her life to training. They have worked on technique, conditioning, strategy and mental strength in order to excel and be selected for a position on a college team. This journey can be quite solitary, but when athletes join their new teams they become part of something so great that they will cherish for the rest of their lives. The team becomes their new family and with them they live and share every experience college has to offer. A tough win becomes an unforgettable moment when you can celebrate it with those who truly understand how much effort was put forth. A bad day is not the end of the world when you have teammates to count on to step in and get the job done for you. Teammates make long van rides and morning workouts bearable and even enjoyable. We might not know it or acknowledge it, but we find God everyday in the people who run next to us, those who wear the same uniform as us, and face our same opponents. We find God in the opportunity to get an education, travel to different cities and meet new people while playing the sport we love. Being a student athlete is a true privilege, an opportunity to grow and take care of the whole person. I did not know it at the time, but from the moment I became part of the Rockhurst Tennis team, I received a gift so great, it can only come from God.
Pause, if only briefly, from the world around you.
Be Awake! You stand on holy ground. Breathe in. That air in your lungs?
It is the Breath of God,
the same God who breathed His last,
of the same air, on the same earth,
in the same world where you stand now.
And God blessed the world then,
just as He did at Creation,
just as He does today.
And so the air you breathe,
the ground and all its bugs,
the squirrels in the trees,
the shoes on your feet,
the wool in your sweater,
every last hair on your head-
is just as touched by the presence of God.
Pause, if only briefly, from the world around you.
The spirit of God is in the wind, blowing where it pleases, and it chooses to blow around Rockhurst. As I walk to class and see the leaves falling gently from the trees guided by the wind, I know God is there. He is everywhere around me. In the simplest action of breathing in the chilly fall air, He is there giving me the breath to continue living. He is there in the breeze that caresses my face when I step outside of Sedgwick. I don’t have to witness a miracle to know the goodness of God. When I was walking around campus one day, I noticed a leaf being blown across my path. It didn’t stay in front of me for more than a few seconds before the wind picked it up and carried it a little farther from me. This kept happening until the leaf landed on one of the cement benches. Again it didn’t stay there for long because another gust of wind came and blew it up again. The leaf had no control over where it was blown, it was determined by the wind. The same is true for me. The wind has led me to Rockhurst for a reason. This is where I will let the spirit guide me in my adventures here.
Gabe Jones, '11, is currently an MBA student and member of the men’s basketball team. He earned his BA in political science and economics and minors in business administration and philosophy. During his undergraduate years, Gabe was a member of Alpha Delta Gamma, Hawks for Life and the Social Mentors Steering Committee.
Finding perfection within imperfection can sometimes be a challenging task. As students, the imperfection often becomes burdensome and can be nearly overwhelming. The tough classes, our problems with friends or family, or even running out of points in the Cafe remind us that the world is rarely a perfect place. Yet, when we try to find God in all things we try to do just that: find some measure of perfection in an otherwise fallen world. That perfection could be a beautiful flower growing through the sidewalk, a perfect sunset, or even a rainy day. But all the disorder and disappointment in our lives can make finding God a very difficult objective. I often remind myself of the phrase “every cloud has a silver lining.” For me, this captures the essence of finding God in all things. No matter the situation, good or bad, I try to remind myself that God is here and in control. When things go well, I find God by being thankful for what He has given me; when things are not so great, I try to find that “silver lining” that is God and thank Him for even the smallest graces. Regardless of how things are going, God has a plan and will not let the imperfections completely “cloud” our search for His perfection. God is there: we just have to be courageous enough to look through the fog and find Him.
Although seemingly simple, the way in which I have found God so far this year becomes a complex experience for which I am forever grateful. With help and inspiration from those around me, I have truly begun to cherish the rising and setting of the sun and the beauty of this event on as many occasions as I can. Although I find myself having some late nights of studying, there are those special days whenI am able to be disciplined enough, wake up from my sleep and have an early to start to my day by jogging around campus. The peace that encompasses the campus at this time is the same that’s in my heart realizing the good works I have been able to accomplish at this University and those I will be challenged to in the future. As the sun is rising from the east, I thoughtlessly direct my attention towards the Town Houses feeling a quick chill of happiness thinking of all the memories my friends and I have created throughout this school year. Shifting my focus to see Corcoran Hall, as I continue my run, I appreciate the moments of growth I experienced while living there my first year here and in campus life this year as well. The silence of Rockhurst is awakened as the sun rises, promising a day of beauty and continual serenity. I find God when I walk through the quad as I stop to peer into the trees to experience the full-fledged sun shining through reminding me He is staying by my side each day. The hustle and bustle of the academic and social life is always in full gear only to slow down as the sun begins to drop off to into the west. The Bell Tower and pergola offer a place for my friends and I to rest our heads as the sky begins to turn into a cotton-candy-looking clouded swirl of beauty and the sun quickly displays its splendor. I can’t help but see the sun splashing off of the academic buildings allowing Him to remind me of my appreciation for the life of college-ruled notebooks, folders, binders and the other necessitiessurrounding the classroom. With the rising and the setting of the sun, I am graced with the feeling of gratitude for this environment of learning, leadership and service,and most importantly for each person that the Son has warmed the heart of and allowed to change my life, without fail, each and every day.
Samantha Gormley, '13, is a psychology major from Bartlesville, Okla. She is involved with CLC, Social Mentors, RAKERS, the Honors Program, Greek Life, and serves as an Orientation Coordinator and Eucharistic Minister.
How do I find God? Well, that’s the question of the hour, isn’t it? After much consideration and thought, I’ve come to realize that my encounters with God come not so much from me searching for Him, but rather His determination to pursue me. Whether these experiences arise from a friend who wants to talk at the most inopportune time and ends up saying some of the most beautiful and loving things I could have needed to hear at that moment, or simply a perfect wind that flows through the Quad when my frustrations are running high, it is the moments I have no control over that I find God. It is the moments I delight in the wonders around me and realize how thoroughly and completely my Creator has cared and provided for me. God is in the professor that works with me to create a service learning option. God is in the Sodexo employee who offers me my much appreciated chicken nuggets with a smile, even when the hours are long. God is in the perfect song that comes on the radio or in the Pub. He is in the challenges that bring out the best in me, even when it is most difficult, but rewarding, creating me anew and creating me as I was meant to be.
Steven Bokel, '13, is currently studying at The John Felice Rome Center in Rome, Italy. He is a business accounting and philosophy major, and a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi (business fraternity) and Christian Life Community (CLC).
I oftentimes find myself reciting the words of Father Kolvenbach, SJ, “. . . to discern what is really happening in your life and in the lives of others, to find God there and to discover where he is calling you.” Where is God and how does he fit into the equation of my life? Making the decision to study abroad was not one made lightly. In choosing to leave, I had to sacrifice many of the things I loved most in this life and, what's worse, I was asking my friends and family to do the same. Finding God has not always been easy but there have been key moments in life where I have felt God's call to action, this semester abroad has certainly been one of them. I have found God in the splendor of Florence, the antiquity ofRome, and the faith of Warsaw. Most importantly, I have found God in the generosity of the people I encounter and all those back how who won't let me waste my time here. In my travels, I have learned that all people, not just Americans or Europeans, but allpeople are basically good. We all have that urge to help someone in need- to be empathetic. We are all the children of God. I have found God in our willingness to give, to help, and have faith that the light will overcome the darkness.
Hero Balani, '15, is an international transfer student from Belize City, Belize. He has recently joined the Rockhurst family and is majoring in international business at the Helzberg School of Management. Hero is currently working for The Rockhurst Fund as well as Sodexo. He is also a member of P.E.E.R.S, a prospective member of Delta Sigma Pi (the business fraternity), and is looking into further student leadership organizations in his semesters to come at Rockhurst.
One day, I look outside the window from the Xavier Loyola Residence Hall. There is silence all around and my eyes rest upon a pile of leaves that had fallen from the trees. They were stationary, dry, dead, cold: then suddenly, they start moving! Twisting and twirling as if dancing on the ground in joy that they were alive. I then took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and felt God’s magnificent presence there and then, all around me. Through his powerful forces: he keeps the entire universe moving, he keeps the earth spinning day to day, he brings new life to each and every one of us through his guiding hand. I see God in the motions of the daily life at Rockhurst. In the students that go from class to class, in the professors that instruct with vigor and confidence, in the administrators that move from meeting to meeting ensuring the success of Rockhurst, in the Sodexo staff who rush to give students their meals, in the hands of students who provide service (Joplin Retreat) and even from the simplest motion in the environment such as the little squirrels that run across the commons: God is present! Give it some thought and reflect on it. What makes you wake up in the mornings and get out of bed and do what you do best in your day? He is there. He is moving all of us, and you can feel him and will find him in all things around you, even in your daily activities. Just stop for a minute, close your eyes and take a deep breath, you’ll see.
Emily Mazzoni, '14, is a St. Louis native. She is majoring in elementary education, secondary education, mathematics and Spanish. Additionally, Emily is an R.A., VP of Student Senate, Orientation Leader, Social Mentor, SI for Spanish, Ambassador, P.E.E.R.S. executive member, a member of CLC and involved with numerous other clubs and activities on campus.
I find God in watching others experience small joys that make Rockhurst the unique University that it is. I see the joy people get from feeling the mist of the fountains, squishing the warm sand between their toes during a game of sand volleyball, and hearing Jane yell out the newest twister order. People smile as they walk by the seemingly random blue cow and they laugh as they are engulfed in the bubbles of the foam dance party. It is in watching people during these instances - some daily, others rarer – that I see God. All of these events turn our ordinary moments into an extraordinary experience. It is through the smiles and laughter of my fellow students, the faculty, and the staff that I encounter God here at Rockhurst, for which I am truly blessed. In such simple joy there is such great power. God gives us the opportunity to be joyful each day, and I constantly witness the members of the Rockhurst community expressing that joy which reminds me that God is present in all things.
I like to relate my search for God in all things to a seek-and-find puzzle. I know He is in my life and experiences, but at times I need to look harder or look at the puzzle in a different way. Sometimes I may not find the words I am looking for in the order I had originally planned; similarly, I may not discover things about God and myself until I give up my preconceived plans. Reflecting on the recent Frosh Get-A-Way, I went in looking for God with a specific plan of action. I would look for Him in the people I talked to and in my own thoughts. Well, needless to say that isn’t how it worked. Although I found God in talking to people, I also saw Him in their actions and encouragement towards one another. I thought I knew what I needed. During the retreat weekend, I felt as if God was searching for me, not the other way around. The realization that He wants to be a part of my life is an incredible revelation. Being open to experiencing God in all aspects of life reminds me to never let my own plans or ideas get in the way of knowing God.
Joe Evans, '12, is from Omaha, Neb. and is majoring in Spanish. He is an active member of a CLC, has participated in domestic and international service trips, and has cut, split and stacked plenty of firewood on several Lumberjack Service Retreats.
I have been very fortunate during my time at Rockhurst to participate in two different spring break service trips. These service trips allowed me to encounter God sometimes in ways that I typically would not expect. During these experiences I have found God in both the people I served and also those who I served with. By allowing myself to be fully present with the people I served felt I was able to find God. I often encountered God in their positive outlook on life and in their sense of humor, despite their struggles. Although sometimes it seems that the people I served were very different from me, I have found that despite these differences you probably share more similarities than you think. It’s these commonalities that allowed me to open up to them and allowed me to see God in them. Returning from these trips has also made me realize that God is not just found in service in a place far from home, but can also be found right in our own backyards. Although we can often get caught up in our own problems in our lives, I have realized that by taking the time to serve others can open your heart and mind to God.
I have felt God at Rockhurst in the people that surround me day in and day out because they exemplify His presence to me. I think God shines through the faculty and staff as they use their gifts and talents to inspire and lead students. He is in the athletes, as they pursue excellence on the field and on the court. God makes himself known to me through my residents and their joy, energy and generosity to each other and our floor. He is there in the Sodexo employees and the maintenance and custodial staff as they willingly and graciously perform their jobs with respect, discipline, and enthusiasm. He is in all students as they encourage one another and take on the challenge of becoming a better version of themselves to discover their passions and make their contribution in the world. God is truly present at Rockhurst University and I consider myself incredibly blessed to be a part of such an enriching place. It is through the people of this community and their compassion and charity that I have seen the face of God and learned more about my faith, the world and myself.
In a perfect world, finding God in all things would be a simple task every day. I grew up in a family that encouraged finding God in everything around us. As I grew older I began to hear the question, “If God is everywhere then why is there tragedy in our world?” Tragedy is an obstacle that can make our search for God a little more difficult, but with our faith, we can definitely overcome this obstacle. I have seen, especially in the past few years that our community response to tragedy is God reaching out to those in need. Natural disasters, family disputes or tragedies, and war have all plagued our world. I am always so inspired by the aid sent to victims and the support that can arise from our society today. It is in those moments that I have seen my favorite image of God in all things. One of my favorite quotes that I’ve learned to use in times of crisis is, “If God brings you to it, God will bring you through it.” He’s always around, but sometimes we may have to look past what is right in front of us in order to find Him.
David Wallisch, '12, is an accounting major from Loveland, Colo. He is on the Executive Board of SAB, serves as the Homecoming Committee Co-Chair, is a member of Alpha Delta Gamma and a Sodexo employee. Throughout his years at Rockhurst, David has truly exemplified the Jesuit ideal of being a man for and with others, something evidenced in his commitment to weekly service at St. James soup kitchen.
Finding God in all things is a Jesuit core value that can be interpreted in many different ways. When I think about this core value, I am reminded of the Gospel of Matthew when the Lord says to his disciples, "As you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me." To me, Finding God in all Things is a way of explaining the need for service to others in our daily lives. During a recent service opportunity, I had someone who was down on his luck come to receive dinner. Despite his physical disabilities, he stayed to help me finish cleaning. He then told me that he "tries to do a little bit of good everywhere he goes." This was a great reminder to me of our ability to Find God in all Things every day by doing a little bit of good for those around us; whether it is holding the door for the person behind us, flashing a smile at someone having a bad day, or volunteering in the community.