Letters to a Future Young Cortinian: “Who am I and whom shall I become?”

letterAM

My dearest Cortinian,

“Who am I? And whom shall I become?” This is a question that has come to the hearts and minds of every single person I know. We are on a constant quest to know the path in which we belong, but thankfully God doesn’t tell us. He instead guides us, and lets us go on a journey that sometimes seems fruitless but shall become fruitful. So although you may think you joined Cortina because of your friend, your parents, or to boost your resume; in all actuality you were meant to be here. God, or whomever you believe in sent you here. You belong. I unfortunately am not a poet, so that’s the end of my eloquent speaking, of the words in my heart. Now I will speak simply and honestly. Enjoy your journey! There will be hard days and easy days. Through it all remember you are strong. Going to your service site will almost always brighten your day, it is an escape, and a time to give of oneself. Go to Community Time, someone worked hard to put it together, by someone I mean a fellow Cortinian, show them you care and attend. It is a time to share with your fellow Cortinians or just a time to listen. Don’t miss a retreat. It is a time to think; nothing else, but peace and quiet to think about that question of “who am I and whom shall I become?” Remember we all make mistakes, and that’s the beauty of it, we all are flawed. Take care of yourself, college is hard yet wonderful, “you can do it!, si se puede!” You are loved my dear and you deserve love! Seek guidance when needed, listen, be patient, and show the love you receive by loving others.

Sincerely,

AM – a fellow Cortinian

Monday Meditation: On Vulnerability

Life is full of little phases, phases we have to go through as we shape our character and find who we really are. This past semester has been an interesting journey in the process of finding who I was. I thought the answer was clear every morning when I looked at my self in the mirror. Yet I realized I was answering a different question. For the longest time I have being answering the question “Who I was taught to be”. I started my journey by questioning, questioning everything. I realized that I needed to find who I really was but do this by myself. This process takes courage and vulnerability.

But what does it really means to be vulnerable? Most people believe that vulnerability has a negative connotation. I have seen definitions from “capable of being physically or emotionally wounded” to “open to attack or damage.” Yet vulnerability goes far beyond that. It is a human characteristic that is not value as much anymore but is essential for personal growth. Being vulnerable is the ability to break open and let yourself be touch by the words of others. It is about letting our self-ego a side and with lots of humility understand where do others are coming from. Believe that we know what the right answer is and that we know what others are trying to say is one of human’s main limitations. This attitude prevents us from expanding our horizons and being able to be expose to someone else’s world. Being vulnerable is about finding our weaknesses and strengths and to be open to share those with others.  Vulnerability provides us with the hope of developing relationships, which will help us to shape our character and grow as individuals.

Be vulnerable. I encourage you to break open, to question life, to be change and to find who you really are. This is an ongoing process we have to take as individuals. Don’t be afraid to start the journey. It is a process that helps us to understand the world from a unique perspective. Your own perspective of life!

How would you characterize the “phase” you are currently in? How does your current phase fit in with the timeline of your life? Who were you taught to be? What is scary about questioning what you have been taught and who you have been taught to be? What does it mean to be vulnerable? With yourself? With others? With God? What are your weaknesses? What are your strengths? What is your “perspective” and where did that come from?

-Majo Sandi, Senior, Cortina Formation Co-Chair

¡Buen Camino!: The Life of a Pilgrim

Those around me tell me that as a college graduate, I’m supposed to be preoccupied with my resumé, leveraging my education and diploma, getting ready for a career in my field and getting my life in order after the idyllic world of university.  Since I’m not working, I should be building valuable experience through a post-grad position or internship, applying for grad schools, and entering the ‘real world,’ wherever that is (I’ll let you know if I find it).  In truth, I’m not so good at this.  After all, “pilgrim” isn’t exactly a marketable identity unless you happen to be applying for a job whose perks include a roman collar. So why would someone like me choose to uproot themselves in such an important time, and take a little walk across an entire country?  Why be a pilgrim?

I could tell you about my story, share my camino, but I won’t.  The thing about adventures and stories is that they’re not something that you write about on a blog or shelve away in some special pictures that gather dust. They don’t sit quietly in you heart and you don’t just move from experience to experience, gaining merit badges to put on a social justice sash, “oh, I did Encuentro, and Cortina, and IFTJ and this is my ‘I talked to homeless people!’ patch!”

No, adventures aren’t to be read about. They are to be experienced. You’re on your own journey, and it is just as important.  Walk with me. Let the people and places and love and life that you know come to the surface. Remember what others have taught you and don’t forget their songs. They are sacred.

Fr. Gillick once told a group of us about to depart for the Dominican Republic that “Adventure is, by its nature, something that happens to other people.”  My favorite quote, by a Jesuit named Anthony de Mello, reads, “I used to be stone deaf. I would see people stand up and go through all kinds of gyrations. They called it dancing. It looked absurd to me — until one day I heard the music!”  The point: things that look absurd, like walking across all of Spain with a pack on your back, make sense if you hear the music.  The places and people and experiences you find by pushing yourself to be uncomfortable and meet the world and its brokenness and love will shape you beyond words.  You’ll become vulnerable.  You’ll be hurt.  But you’ll also come alive.  Your heart will be touched in a way that you can’t do anything but follow where it leads.  You just start putting foot in front of foot and pretty soon, you end up in places that you’d never imagine, like being chased by a bull down a street in Puente La Reina.  That’s a story, I suppose, for a different time, though I will tell you that if you get the opportunity to do such a thing, take it.

You have one life. One. It is a wild and precious thing; how you live that life, how you invest your love, is the most important question you can answer.  It is the only adequate response to the incredibly sacred and wordlessly special gift you’ve been given by being alive.  Pedro Arrupe writes that falling and staying in love will decide everything.  This is true beyond words; your task, as a Creighton student, as a Cortinian, is to let the world overwhelm you with its love.  To be touched by the real and the pure.  To listen to the voice of God alive and pulsing around you and within you. It’s to go places and try new things and discover yourself by discovering those around you.  You have an incredible set of gifts to give, and you will never know they exist within you until you find reason to share them.  It’s to let the world, love, and other people mission you.  To have your heart set on fire, and let that fire spread to the world.

So be a pilgrim. What, who is calling you?  Where do you feel your heart and soul longing to be? Find the things worth living for, the people who will touch your soul in a way you cannot escape.  Carry those people in your heart and your eyes, carry the grand spectacles you encounter in the world and in the world of your soul and let them pour from you.  Do things that make you uncomfortable, and bring others along. Go places for the simple reason that you desire to go there; find God and Love alive and let them be the most powerful forces in your life and the world.  Live as a prophet.  Live as yourself.  Live.  As some graffiti on the camino poignantly reads, love and live, dangerously.  ¡Buen Camino! -Tim

Tim Nendick is a 2012 graduate of Creighton University & former RA in the program.  He recently walked a month from St. Jean Pied de Port, France, to Muxía, Spain, completing a centuries old pilgrimage called the Camino de Santiago.

 You can find his pictures here.