A lot has happened over the past 2 and a half years. I've learned so much about myself and about my faith. But, I'm at a point now where I feel I need to move on with my life. So, after some deep reflection, I've decided that I will be leaving the Society of Jesus.
Let me make this clear that this is no fault of the Society. I still have a deep respect and love for their work, their ministry, and their lives. The Society and I have had a steady relationship, but as with couples, you necessarily come to a point where you seriously consider where this relationship is taking you. Is this life right for me? Do I want to spend the rest of my life with the Society? Am I really in love with the Society?
The answer, for me, is no. And, really, this is a difficult realization for me to come to. Of course, I have to ask myself: what have I been doing over these past 2 years? Have I just been wasting my time? What now?
Actually, I am very grateful for all that the Jesuits have given to me. I move on from here a better person than when I entered. And, I think we will still be friends. It's not like we are leaving with bad blood between us, but I think this move is best for both parties concerned.
I'm actually getting a little teary-eyed as I write this and think about all of the memories that I have. The fraternal community life, the heart-to-heart faith sharings, the opportunities to do and to experience things that I never would have otherwise, our daily routine of prayer and reflection (especially the 30 day silent retreat), my own personal development in mental, physical, and spiritual health, and the ever growing and deepening relationship I have fostered with God and Christ that will sustain me for the rest of my life--all of this and so much more that I am so incredibly thankful for.
I am so richly blessed, but the time to move on is now. I look forward to the rest of my life with great hope and anticipation, having faith that the Society will continue to grow and develop in my absence.
So, I'm sure you are asking: what now? Well, I have decided to stay here in New York and finish my degree in philosophy. As you can tell with my past posts, this year of studies has had quite an impact in the way I think and see the world. It has encouraged me to develop my critical thinking skills, to ask questions that I never would have asked otherwise. Thus, it would only be most prudent and beneficial for me to finish up what I started here at Fordham, so I will still be around. After that, I hope to place myself on the job market, specifically looking for a job in education. I feel particularly drawn to high school work and would love to teach at a Jesuit school, knowing that I learn just as much from the students themselves as they learn from me. I may also like to develop my musical skills, perhaps looking to get a degree in music and working in the choral sphere. Or, I might find a job as a writer, whatever that may look like. In truth, I don't know what the future holds for me. But, if my Jesuit life has taught me anything, that is to trust in God's work in all of it. The Lord, indeed, is my shepherd.
On the upside, I will continue to blog, so you will be able to follow along on my post-Jesuit journey. Of course, it will be kind of strange for the site to continue having the sj in the site address, so my blog will have to move in the future. I have put the future address under the labels for this post (I highly encourage you to read the label).
Sigh...well, in the words of Jim Carrey: "I hate good-byes." I give a special thanks to my brother Jesuits who have walked with me, listened to me, prayed with me, even embracing me when I needed comfort, throughout my time as a Jesuit. Indeed, I will never forget you and all you have done for me. I know we will keep in touch.
So, to my brother Jesuits: God bless you and your lives. Stay close to Christ, and He will be there to lead you and guide you as He has done over the past 500 years. I leave you with a tender prayer:
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
May the rains fall soft upon your fields,
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.