Jack B: experience of happiness – experience of hurt

An experience of happiness I had was the entire season of football. We all worked very hard the entire offseason to make it back to the state championship. We went 5-4 in the regular season, but were able to grow closer as a team. When we faced Minooka in the Quarterfinals Of playoffs, that is when we really started to love each other. That game was a #1 team against the #24 team in 8a. The entire game, we absolutely demoralized them, capitalizing on every play. However, in the Semi Final game against Warren was a different outcome.

As the clock winded down in the 4th quarter, it was very sad to see all my teammates and coaches start to cry. This marked the end of the 2019 Brother Rice Football season. Through all those morning workouts to late nights on the field, we truly became a family. In the locker room, everyone was crying as it truly was an experience of hurt. No one thought that a 5-4 team would come close to making it to the state championship, let alone the semi final. I am very happy to have had these experiences in which I grew and learned from it. Now my team and I are ready to win the 2020 State Football Championship.

Ed B: spiritual high – spiritual Low

As long as we look to God for mercy and grace we will always have a good relationship with him. Taking time during the pandemic to grow closer to God can be hard, but if we make the time for god he will make the time for us. When we make time for god we reach our spiritual high. However, if we don’t put our trust in God we can reach our spiritual low. 

These highs and lows can majorly affect our relationship with god. When we hit our spiritual low we are sinners who need to rebuild our relationship with God and start finding that everlasting path of ascension. When we hit our spiritual high we start to rejoice with god and begin to see and trust God’s message.

As I look at how the pandemic has affected me spiritually I look to all that God has done to keep my family and friends safe. I think at this point that is all one can ask from God because he strives to help all his followers that search for that spiritual high.

Lou C: God Being Active in My Life Through Disappointing and Thankful Moments

Throughout the entirety of this pandemic, I have been able to make a deeper connection to God by understanding his love in my everyday life. This has been a challenging period in my life with more disappointing moments than thankful moments. It is in both of these times that I must strive to witness and keep faith in God’s actions in my life. I believe that the presence of God is stronger in disappointing circumstances compared to circumstances full of thankfulness. In these moments in which I am upset or feel short handed, I realize that these feelings are to help and prepare me for the future while also benefiting someone else. By this I mean that, although, I might fall short or lose sometimes, I might be getting a more valuable lesson than those who have won. This pandemic has put me in many harsh circumstances as I have lost many things due to it. In disappointing times such as these, it can be very hard to witness God, but it is also in these times where God can benefit you the most. Disappointing things have happened to me lately such as losing a school trip, losing a contest, or even not being able to see my friends. These disappointing things have shaped me greatly by helping me to sit back and realize God’s love in my life. It has taught me that what one desires, such as winning, truly is misleading them to what God knows is best for them. It can also be said that when I am disappointed for not getting what I desire, those who have received what they desire have truly a deeper feeling toward it. For instance, I had recently lost a scholarship essay contest to someone I know very little about. Of course, I was devastated about losing, but seeing the pure unmatchable joy on my peer’s face after winning was when I witnessed God. I knew that by his reaction, this contest was simply more than just saving money or a contest. After this instance, I began talking to him about why he was so astattic. This contest, to him, was a make or break situation for him going to college. Due to financial situations and stuff at home, my friend was praying day and night to do as good as he could. I understood then, that even if I won, it would not be what I wanted. God truly acted upon my life, disappointing me, but greatly helping one of my classmates. Through God’s actions in both of our lives that day, God gave me one of my closest friends in one of my most disappointing moments.

Joe H: feeling of fulfillment – feeling unfulfilled

In my life, I am more able to recognize that God is present when I feel fulfilled. I usually feel fulfilled when I have been rewarded for my actions that are helpful to others. For example, when I do chores without my parents asking, I am rewarded with an allowance or I receive preferential treatment. This makes me feel as though God is with me to reward me for honoring my mother and father.

However, when people do not notice my acts of kindness, I am not necessarily disappointed, but I question if God is truly always with me. Sometimes it is hard to feel the presence of God because he is not tangible unlike the people who express appreciation around me. It is important to realize that in times when I feel unfulfilled, I must recognize that God will always be a witness of my actions, good or bad. I must realize that while I may feel unfulfilled during my lifetime, God will reward me generously in the afterlife.

Jeff P: Awareness of God – Least Aware of God

The Covid-19 pandemic can be used as a great example of how we are both aware and unaware of God throughout our lives. Some other examples of when we are the most aware of God are when (hopefully) a vaccine for Covid-19 is discovered, when we have a “random” stroke of luck, or even when something we have prayed for happens. Examples of when we are the least aware of God include when we ponder how God could have let a pandemic happen, or when something does not go the way we had hoped for, whether we prayed for it or not. It is not difficult to be aware of the presence of God in all the good things that happen in life, but it can be in the bad things that happen in life. For example, many wonder how God could have let the Covid-19 pandemic happen. We have to realize that in order for there to be good things, God has to let bad things happen. For example, God gives us the freedom of choice so that we can choose to do good. In the same sense, he is allowing for us to choose to do bad. Likewise, people wonder why God isn’t answering their prayers, and many jump to the conclusion that God simply does not hear or answer all prayers. However, this is not the case. God does hear and answer all prayers, but he may not give us exactly what we want. We have to remember that everything that happens is already part of God’s plan, so there really isn’t much we can do to change that. Things happen the way God has planned them to happen. God is present in our lives and in every moment; you just have to know where to look. 

Sean M:  experience of happiness – experience of hurt

Amid our current hardships, it is sometimes easy for us to ignore the presence of God in our lives. We become so preoccupied with ourselves that we fail to recognize that God is all around us. Reflecting on the past can help us to discover moments in which God touched our lives, and identifying contrasting experiences is an effective way to start this process. I took the time to reflect on contrasting experiences of happiness and hurt in my past to better understand how active God has been in my life. An experience of hurt that immediately came to my mind was the sudden death of my grandfather last December. Although he was approaching 88 years old, he was still fairly healthy, so his passing came as a surprise. I had just talked to him on the phone a few days before his death. My grandfather had always been a calming, loving presence in my life, and it seemed impossible that such an unwavering force could simply disappear overnight. Soon after, my grandmother asked me to speak at the funeral, and at first, I was extremely nervous. This is the point that God touched me. He gave me the strength to overcome my emotions and speak about my experience with my grandfather. It seemed like God was guiding my words, and in this way, I was able to be a vessel of my grandfather’s love even though he was no longer with us. Those in attendance witnessed a piece of his spirit that passed down to me.

A truly happy experience proved to be more difficult to identify because so often we take good times for granted. However, after some contemplation, one moment began to stand out. A few weeks ago, my dad and I went golfing together. It was a beautiful day and we had a ton of fun. The trees, birds, and sunshine gave off such a comforting presence that God must have been there watching over us. My reflection helped me to realize that God isn’t really present in the worldly happiness involved with personal fulfillment. Instead, God appears within the small moments of peace we experience through nature, family, and friends. Overall, my personal examination showed me that God resides in the souls of his creation, not in money or success. Therefore, although it isn’t always obvious at the time, I experience God each time I walk out into the world.