Seriously, I’m here to recruit you for Cortina. Isn’t it nice when people are that George about their purpose? Sorry, I meant Frank.
I’ll be serious-ish now. Cortina, for me, was something solid in what I have long wanted my life to be–a community to which I could devote myself while focusing on personal, spiritual, relational, and many other forms of growth. Most of all, Cortina affirmed the personhood of myself and all those around me. That may seem like a confusing statement. What I mean by that is Cortina prevented me from being only prepared for a limited number of things in life. It meant that I wasn’t just putting myself into med school. I wasn’t just preparing to go to some rockin’ protests. I wasn’t only learning so I could do. I was learning so I could be.
I can tell you lots of stories about Cortina–from my stupid stories of pranks gone horribly array, to Tim and I building a sled out of kids skis and scrap from the theater shop dumpster; from crying at the last meeting of the year to going to the opening retreat being arrogant thinking I knew a lot about justice and what really happens in the world. I intended on teaching others how to organize protests, get Nike off campus, and rabble rouse a bit. I came into Cortina expecting to help transform others and teach them about justice in the world. I left with a substantially different perspective of myself and others.
Like I said, I became what I wanted to be rather than what I wanted to do. I realized that we are all human, have differences, joys, hopes, dreams, pitfalls, faults, and that I have a horrible habit of playing pranks that involve food or exorbitant amounts of sweet and sour sauce.
Because I came to fully realize what I wanted to be AND do, I dropped out of college–I left Creighton to join the Jesuits. I’m now a Jesuit Novice living in St. Paul. I can fairly well guarantee you all won’t suddenly want to become priests. I’d been thinking about it for along while. But Cortina gave me opportunities to discern who I was and what I was looking for in life, not just for me but that I might also serve others. Not that I might serve myself and the others on the side, but that I might realize the more I serve the world around me, the more I am served; same with love.
I solidified old relationships and made some new ones. It also gave me some pretty awesome stories. I built a sled; got multiple weeks of sleeping just 25 hours; took some good trips to Donut Stop and Village Inn; went on some good hikes; got swine flu and busted out of quarantine. I gave a lot in the community. They gave me a lot.
The life on the floor wasn’t all fun and games, but my memories of life there will always remain ones of this–I did not become a major, a career, a stereotypical hippie flower child, or a staunch conservative; I became a person, a person who can be and a person who can love the world he is in.
I hope my recruiting worked. If not, you’re a cotton-headed ninnymuggin. Or if you need more convincing, want to hear funny stories, want to hear moving stories, or anything about the floor, e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Now go do your homework.