by Danielle Cherry
The biggest change in my life was when I decided to come to DePaul. I moved halfway across the country from a small town in New Hampshire to one of the largest cities in the country, completely by myself. I had only been to Chicago once before and I did not know anyone there. I thought I was prepared for my adventure to Chicago and college, I definitely was not. Looking back, at my last summer and first quarter I don’t think there was an effective way to prepare and possibly imagine the amount of change heading my way.
I entered a major that I had no experience in, that’s male dominant and I had zero connections. I felt like I was starting at zero for the first time in my life. I became extremely homesick when Autumn rolled around. I was lucky enough to come from a very close and loving Greek and Polish family, and now I was 16 hours away from them. I missed the colors of the leaves in New England, I missed real maple syrup, football, and my friends. I was sad. I tried to hide it. I asked myself, “How are you going to make it through four years? How was I expected to call this home?” I felt like I was stuck. I didn’t want things to change this much all at once.
Different instances of change may also imply different solutions and tactics for handling it. Changing your hairstyle is much different than losing a loved one or ending a relationship. The similarity to all of these examples is the most consistent thing in all of our lives, God. God is there guiding us to adapt to this change or leading us to satisfaction. When we change our hairstyles and we haven’t decided as to whether or not we like it, God still thinks we are beautiful and through His love, we learn to love ourselves more. Like when people compliment us and it makes us think that whatever they compliment us on, is nice or pretty. God “compliments” our entire existence until we adapt and learn to love ourselves just as much.
When a significant change happens, like when a loved one passes, God comforts us. This experience varies for everyone.
My best friend in high school used to say that God would speak to her through her dreams. I was jealous of that and became upset with God, wondering why she got that and not me. I was ignoring all the other signs of love and comfort that He was giving me. I was losing faith. In one of my theology classes in high school, I was so upset and did not understand why such bad things happen in the world and why such big changes were happening all around me, I didn’t know my place in this world. I asked a teacher about these feelings and he said, “bad things happen so we can truly appreciate the Good. If all things were good, then in a way, nothing would be.” The only way I could comprehend was by comparing it to the line in the Incredibles, “when everyone’s super, no one will be.” I would pray and pray asking for all of these things, but I wouldn’t listen. Prayer is supposed to be a conversation but I was modeling it like a Christmas list.
Once I started listening I grew so much closer in faith and started to see all the signs. When I lost my grandfather 10 years ago a butterfly landed on my shoe and then flew over to a statue of Mary in my grandmother’s garden. When I lost my grandmother over spring break, a butterfly flew out of a bouquet that was on her coffin. Those were signs that they were safe and happy together, and I should be okay too. I refuse to believe that it was a coincidence. God is with you through all the changes in your life to help guide you and comfort you through it. All you have to do is listen and grow to love your life as much as God does.