Never Alone

Me right now:

images.washingtonpost.com

[source]

The week just started and I already feel smoked and kicked in the derrière.

I cannot complain, though. First of all, I am blessed to be in school and to have wonderful opportunities ahead of me this week. Secondly, this weekend I went on the Catholic Center retreat in Kennebunkport, Maine, and the time away from school to spend a lot of quality time with God has refreshed my soul and filled my heart.

12743535_1033677896697379_325712070490665800_n

The theme of the retreat was “Never Alone,” referring to the importance of friendships in this journey of life and faith. The speaker for the weekend, Fr. Tom, spoke about friendship in such a unique way. What he said was so simple and logical, yet so profound.

IMG_0313

Fr. Tom said two things that have been buzzing in my head all weekend long:

  1. It is improbable that we have the friends we have and that we are living the faith. There are so many improbable events that have happened to bring us to where we are now.
  2. There is such a thing as being “talented” at friendship.

IMG_0327 IMG_0331

How true and beautiful those points are. It is no work of my own that has brought me into such a faithful family, to such a privileged life, and to such a loving community (both online and offline). Every good, bad, big, and little thing that has happened in my life shaped me into who I am today and continues to shape me into who God wills me to be.

12742525_1033678090030693_8221490677502009025_n

For instance, it sends chills down my spine to reflect on how the events of my life led me to start this little ol’ blog. My participation in performance sports ➔ my weight gain ➔ my obsessive and stubborn personality ➔ my discovery of healthy living blogs ➔ my eating disorder ➔ my loving family ➔ my recovery ➔ my renewed outlook on healthy living blogs ➔ the start of this blog ➔ the love and support I receive from the blogging community ➔ the friendships fostered here…

IMG_0378

It sucks that anyone has to have an eating disorder. It sucks that there is suffering and hurt. But the goodness that can be drawn from disorder and suffering can be more fruitful and expansive than anyone could ever hope or imagine. And this is largely because God gave us other people to live with. People can suck, don’t get me wrong, but people can be our companions on this journey that is life.

IMG_0440

Fr. Tom said that friendship is goal-oriented. If you have a shared destination, you have a shared journey. Furthermore, the depth and beauty of the goal impacts the depth and beauty of the friendship.

IMG_0308

happy 20th birthday, Rachel!!!

For me personally, eternal life with God is the ultimate goal, and sharing this goal with my friends transcends our conversations and interactions in order to match it.

IMG_0408

Recovery from an eating disorder is another profound goal that I can {fortunately and unfortunately} share with so many people, thanks to the blogging community. That goal has great depth and beauty, so our interactions with one another match that. I am constantly in awe of how close I have become to people from around the world through the internet, all because we know about hurt, and we know that we want something better.

IMG_0405

Two last things that stood out to me from Fr. Tom’s talks:

  1. The root of all religion is the desire to thank something or someone for life’s blessings.
  2. Each of us has a “sacred mission” and obligation to reach out to a specific person of God’s choosing. We won’t be able reach everyone, but we were definitely meant to reach someone.

IMG_0443

It’s impossible to count all the people who have made an improbable impact (whether it was positive or negative) on my life that has led me to where I am today. But I thank God for giving each one a sacred mission to reach out to me.

IMG_0391

This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness week, and I think this weekend’s retreat theme is so pertinent to the occasion. There is comfort in trusting that everything happens for a reason. Everyone’s journey is different, but I can say from my own experience that I could not have recovered to this point had I not found this community of bloggers/readers who shared the same goal. I also could not have recovered had it not been for such improbable factors in my life, and for all these things, I thank God.

This year’s NEDA Week theme is: “Three Minutes Can Save a Life.” If there is a way that you can compassionately and gently spread the word about getting screened for an eating disorder to your friends or community, please do. It may just be that improbable factor that leads someone to recovery.

general-full_0

[source]

Thank you to all who made this retreat weekend wonderful. Thank you to all of you who have shown me love at any point in my life. Thank you to the Lord of all.

So tell me:

What are some improbable events that have led you to where you are today?

What did you do this weekend?

Thoughts? 

Advertisements

21 thoughts on “Never Alone

  1. Awh, same thought shere. While I used to regret going through it, a good 2 years of my life “wasted” (I thought) I now see I can relate and actually talk to other’s who have gone though it or are currently. Our experiences make us stronger, both spritually & mentally, if we let them! (:

  2. “People can suck, don’t get me wrong, but people can be our companions on this journey that is life.”

    Why are you so mean to yourself? Just kidding. I’m blessed to have met you, seriously. Friendship is so important AND taken for granted- What a great ‘theme’ for the weekend!

  3. I guess I can say the same thing has happened to me. I would have never traveled in the first place if I didn’t need to get away from the life I was living that was essentially the case behind my eating disorder. Now I’m a health coach and a world traveler who gets to share her story everyday. You can’t beat that!
    Last weekend I went for Japanese Food for the first time and then out on the town with a new friend! I’m loving Sydney that’s for sure!

  4. Glad that you had a great weekend! And so glad how far you have come on your recovery journey. I feel you with the business of this week already: but Friday will be here before we know it! xoxo

  5. This is weird, but listening to podcasts has literally opened up so many opportunities for me and given me so much knowledge, I’m shocked thinking about it. I was able to work on a book by a guy whose podcast I listened to. I have changed the way I see myself and fitness because of them. They are my HLBs I guess =P
    God has a plan for everything we have or will go through. It’s really comforting to me that He can lead me through the bad and provide all the good. Have a great week Alison!

      • Thanks Alison 🙂 I love the Rich Roll Podcast, Finding Our Hunger, Plantriotic, Endurance Planet, The Boundless Show (perfect for the Christian or Catholic college student, trust me!!), The Nourished Podcast, Running On Om and Stuff You Should Know. I also love TedTalks! Sorry that’s a lot, but I listen to them all the time 🙂

  6. Pingback: Why I'm Not A Healthy Living Blogger - Beauty In Christ - The Book

  7. I remember how easy it was to make friendships back in the day. Oh, you like My Little Ponies? Me too! Let’s be best friends!! I guess it’s kind of that same way now too when you’re with a group of people who have the same interests or goals as you… which is why the blogging community is so amazing. This retreat sounds so beautiful. I used to go to so many of those when I was growing up, and I always remember leaving with such a full heart.

  8. The friends and community you’ve found at BU and through the Catholic Center sound so wonderful! I’m so, so happy for you that you’ve had such a great network of friends to support you and love on you through college so far, in addition to your great network of blog friends! 🙂

Your comments are groovy!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s