From Solitude to Socialness in One Night: God Working in Mysterious Ways

Despite all the pressure from research and my approaching qualifying exam in August, I somewhat felt broed and lonely.  This was not the first time I felt as if I were Mr. Lonely, but ’twas definitely the first time when I did not have the urge to move forward.  I still got things accomplished, but I noticed that I had been in front of the computer a lot more often for the past two to three days.  My true self would be around town exercising, mingling with people, or simply biking around…but I noticed that the me for the past two days would be watching movies or searching for people to chat with, which could be sad.  I also could not fall asleep since I yearned for someone to be beside me…Things changed today though, as I went to one of the Thursday events at church.  I had not been attending those events since the beginning of the school year due to my busy schedule, and I thought ’twas time to go back.

Tonight’s’ graduate student and young professional group merged with the undergraduate group at 7PM due to a Dominican sister giving a talk about Ave Maria.  Since I had free time tonight and since I went to a Catholic elementary school ran by Dominican nuns, I thought of attending the event.  I was sitting by myself at first, but then a young lady invited me to sit with her group.  We did not chat too much since I am usually shy towards strangers and because I had a long day.  Plus, the presentations forbade us to interact.  She left early though, ditching her friends behind.  So I sat in the middle of the crowd, said hi to James when he passed by, listened to the talk, sang some songs, and then off I went to mingle!  I did bump into some of my current students and said hi to them, and then I joined the graduate student and young professional crowd.  I first met Doug, who was my friend and buddy from the 11AM Mass choir and Bible study, and then we headed downstairs to the basement to meet with the others at 9PM.  ‘Twas actually great to be back and to see faces I did not see for almost six to eight months.  ‘Twas amazing to be able to reintroduce myself and learn names of some, to talk to Liz and Kenny, and to join a group circle by being entertained with conversations.

Although I did not really know the people that well, I at least knew them of their names before since I interacted with them through service activities, men’s night playing poker or grilling out somewhere, or other events.  Before though, I tried to distant myself from them since I thought that I was not as Catholic as they were, but they are actually fine young men!  Just to see Luke and Andrew being so joyful and humorous, just to see people in the circle being so expressive and accepting of others, just to be united with these men made me feel that perhaps I do belong somewhere and that there are people who would accept me for who I am and invite me into their group.  Although I could be quite accomplished in many ways, I mostly felt that I would be used by others to help them move furniture to their new place and never heard back from them (eh hem, such as my Ayn Rand following “friends”) or even in the dating scene.  ‘Twas great to be back, and I look forward to making up for what I had missed for more than a semester and to get to know them.  ‘Tis possible that a few of us will go on a trip together next year, but I will write more about the trip when it is official.

The interactions ended at 10PM for me since I needed to go buy avocados and they were heading to a bar.  I wished Doug well since he was thinking of working on some research tonight and some of the others that were heading to the bar.  Since 7PM, I thought of emailing Erich since I lost contact with him since the beginning of the spring semester.  He is a great and holy guy, and we shared many wonderful memories together: talking about our lives and helping each other, going to Caroline’s place for pancakes and breakfast, going to ballroom dancing, and much more.  We would often bump into each other on State Street, and the last time when I saw him was in January.  He was planning to study abroad in Bonn this semester, but he changed his mind.  He also seemed to be frustrated and gloomy when I saw him in January, and I thought of him throughout the evening and planned on emailing him when I got home.  Who knew that when I went out of the center after parting from the graduate student and young professional group, I saw Erich standing in front of me!  He saw him, had his eyebrows raised with delight, and soon we were embracing one another!!!!  Who could have known that God works in mysterious ways?  We soon started exchanging questions to see how we are doing in life, and he is doing well.  He is still a caring guy, and he will be graduating next semester.  He also has been taking care of this elderly guy with Parkinson’s Disease, whom I saw before in Mass, and know they would go to a church in Middleton.  ‘Twas great to see Erich cleanly shaved and smiling too, for he is a handsome man with a big heart.  We chatted for around twenty minutes, and ’twas great catching up with him.  Since he thought of talking to another person, I let him go before ’twas too late at night, but hopefully we will be able to grab lunch together sometime with his friend!

Love does not mean to find some attractive and to sleep with him or to perform sexual acts.  Love does not mean to use someone as kleenex and then throw him away.  Love is something a bit deeper that requires patience and sacrifice, for love is when you reach out to people beside you and to welcome them into your circle.  After tonight, I do not feel as lonely as the past few evenings.  I felt that there are people I can talk to and be with.  Sure, we might have disagreements and different views, but we could talk about those with one another and that I am never alone.  Even if I feel despair, I need to recognize that God loves me, and that Mary will be with me.  I got many amazing friends and people around me, and I just need to make sure that I am not blindfolded and being self-centered.  Similar to the great folks from tonight, I hope and pray that I can carry their traditions and reach out to others as well, whether it be a small step or not.  Seeing that ’tis 11:30PM, I know that I will be sleeping quite well tonight 🙂


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