Spirituality is the value that inspires me throughout my life. Spirituality provides me with three reasons that are important to me. These are a belief-/faith-system, comfort, and a community/support-system.
Spirituality is a value that I find to be very inspirational through all avenues of my life—from college to tough family times. It brings me to grow closer to God. Spirituality encourages me to believe in knowing that there is a greater power out there. To be brought up with such a faith-system as Catholicism, I’ve been shown how to value spirituality through recognizing, respecting, and connecting with a higher power. For example, I am able to believe, through spirituality there is one God.
Spirituality gives me comfort in saying that you cannot control everything and you most certainly cannot control the universe is a comforting thought. The notion that I could inspire youth through spirituality moves me. Another idea that encourages me is that this value brings you a community of spiritual believers and within the community you are not alone—there is a support system that is automatically provided and is able to act immediately when things are not going right—similar to Fireman and other Emergency Rescue personnel. An example of this that I believe clearly shows the support system is in the film Fireproof: "Never Leave Your Partner Behind", of which one could make many comparisons between that quoted theme—from marriage partners to coworkers to working on a project with others. I truly believe that Christian films can help enhance and inspire many people of all walks of faith—and perhaps even able to evangelize through our Catholic faith.
Most recently, I have personally witnessed this support system that was directly inside my spiritual community of believers. It all started around November 2007 to early December 2007 when it felt like a major earthquake just broke through my family. My mom divorced my dad. This is, as am sure with all people of broken families, was an extremely sad and terrible family tragedy that broke the hearts of everyone in my family—from my mom to my dad to my two sisters to myself to my grandma, aunts, uncles, cousins, and even close friends—each in their own unique and personal way. This happened towards the end of my senior year—just months after my 21-year old cousin died of Leukemia. To this day it’s still hard, but by finding therapeutic techniques like journaling, writing, and sharing this with friends and family, it helped to loose some of the tension. I even began really stressing out and at times of my senior year I felt a little "depressed" like everyone was out to get me—but I know now by reflecting on my very recent past that it was crazy from an outsider’s view, but this was my unique way of reacting to this terrible family break up. Since seeing this Christian film that was just released on DVD, Fireproof, I wish that my parents could of both seen it and things would work out. I do know now that through this spirituality value that "with God all things are truly possible."
About two to three months following the immediate family crash of this drastic divorce; it was the support system within my local Catholic Church, particularly the youth ministry, who came to the rushing aide to support my family and I through this time of family crisis. Our founding leader and youth minister, Dr. Pamela, came to my two sisters and myself to console us and offer her help. I very visually recall after one of our weekly evening youth ministry meetings, she took my two sisters and myself to Baker’s Square. Dr. Pamela is also a long family friend, so that made it easier to talk to her. During our delicious time with her, she discussed with us about what had happened. We also talked about life in general, so it wouldn’t feel depressing. The main reason for her calling the three of us to have this meeting was because she wanted us to go and talk to this one particular priest who was a marriage counselor—his name was Rev. Robert R. Rorich, M.A., and M.DIV, who has a practice in family/marriage therapy and certificate from Northwestern University and is located at the De Paul Center in Lemont, Illinois. My 14-year old sister, mom, dad, and myself took the advice from Dr. Pamela, our humble youth minister and close family friend, to go talk to Father Bob. As far as I am aware, my other sister has not talked to anyone nor seen a family therapeutic counselor. In addition to Dr. Pamela, Father Bob has also given me a clearer picture of this support system that is provided, and very much apparent, through this faith-driven value that we call spirituality and is brought out through our Catholicism faith. If I had not been brought up with this value of spirituality, and most importantly, if I had not taken it upon myself to grow more in depth, in these transitioning years, then I would not of been able to get through this family tragedy of divorce that my mom brought upon us all—for I might of even done something so drastic that I do not, nor most firm spiritual seekers, want to think about.
In this community of believers, I have found that the community will not judge you, but is rather here to help you. Another added bonus is that you have the same Christian beliefs as everyone else who shares in this value of spirituality. Similar to many Christians, this spirituality value has given me a mindset that allows me to never give up. A clear example that I can recall is when I lose the physical energy and struggle to complete a task or cannot go any further physically, then it is faith that I turn to—moreover, its God that I can always turn to. For its He, the Almighty One, who never gives up on me. For it is God who provides me with the willpower to continue and get the task done when I physically cannot. It is also because of this value of spirituality that I am able to turn to spiritual direction for advice and help when things go awry. I also use turn to on occasion the Holy Bible for advice such as the following biblical verse taken from Matthew 19:26, "With God all things are possible." For it is God who can help you face your giants—your fears, and it is Him who can help you recognize, respect, and connect to that Higher Power or influence that only He brings and automatically gives you.
Spirituality also gives me the ability to pray and appreciate the act and art of praying. When I need help, when life get hard, or when there is no one near to talk to or lean on, then I know that I always know forevermore that I can resort to prayer to help guide me in the right direction and get me through whatever conflict arises on my path of life—may it be petite or grand. Another humorous example is sometimes when I am swimming in a 4X50 freestyle at my Special Olympics swim team practice, a good teammate friend and I try to beat each other, for competition—usually when I swim against him he is faster than me, but I quietly pray to God and ask him to give me the strength to do my best—and "lord and behold" I touch the wall just microseconds before him. I believe that God has helped me here. As you can see through my personal, yet relevant thoughts, spirituality shapes the person of who I am today. In my daily doings, thinking, acting, reacting to, taking photos of, writing, and most all else, is done with this value of spirituality in mind. The core reason that I am able to live life can be related back to this spirituous value. I may not know everything there is to know about Catholicism, but I do know that there is a higher reason to live. I know that in everything that I do there is always a larger reason for it—that with God, all things are truly possible—if we just believe!
Copyright 2010 Daniel Smrokowski