Finding God Everywhere

I didn’t pick Georgetown because I was Catholic or wanted to go into the SFS or because it was my dream school. In fact, when my letter came, I had already paid a first-year deposit at another university, my mom had raided their bookstore to get me a bunch of college gear, and I was beginning my preparation for move-in in the fall. My dad had been the one to push me to apply to Georgetown a few months before, and though I had yet to get official word about my admittance or lack thereof, I had already written off the possibility of being accepted. I thought that I wasn’t spectacular enough for Georgetown. It was a huge shock when I got in, as well as a major shift when I changed all of my college plans and moved to the Hilltop that Fall.

I didn’t know about the character of, or the values that Georgetown held closely when I first arrived. The shock of my acceptance has yet to wear off even still, and stemming from that, I had always looked at Georgetown as, to use a college-prep term, a “reach school.” Hoyas were brilliant students who graduated high school as the valedictorians of their classes and who would go on to populate the likes of Capitol Hill and various U.S. embassies around the world. I was still unsure about what I wanted to do with my life, but I was fairly certain it didn’t have to do with aspirations that matched that level of importance, and thus, I labeled myself an outsider before even trying to really get to know Georgetown.

It wasn’t until I learned more about Georgetown’s Jesuit heritage and dedication to creating an interreligious space that I started to appreciate and love it. I’ve never been religious, but I’ve always wanted to be. I began attending different services for different religions when I first arrived. I liked that I was able to go to the different groups without being seen as an intruder, even though I didn’t consider myself a member of any religion at the time. Exploring the different options was a meaningful experience, but I was yearning for a more personal relationship with God, and I didn’t know where I would be able to get that.

That’s when I met the Chaplains in Residence in Darnall Hall, Stefanie and Max, during my first week at Georgetown. As much as anyone, I was feeling apprehensive about not living with my parents anymore. I knew that Stefanie and Max weren’t there to be parents to the residents of Darnall, but having adults around that cared about us personally, not just academically, was comforting. I went to their open houses as the semester progressed, where I was able to meet the residents of Darnall, have reflective conversations, and relax a bit. I got to know Stefanie and Max better, too, and when I would see one of them around campus, they would stop and say “hello” or ask how I was doing. These little moments meant, and still mean, a lot to me. They remind me that my chaplains care and want to know how I’m doing, which is an important thing to remember, especially on dark days.

It was around this time, near the middle of my first semester, that I found my personal relationship with God. It started when I began seeing Him in everyday things. At night, when I looked back on the day and what I was grateful for, I began seeing all of God’s gifts. Whenever I get a text from my parents or my sister, I see God’s work in the form of family. His work is also in the friendships that I’ve made here and my lasting friends from back home.  The base of these and all of God’s gifts is love; the love He has for us, and the love we have in our hearts. Love can be seen in all things, but perhaps most obviously, it’s shown through the kindness we extend to others. Stefanie and Max embody this kindness for me, and their caring for me and all of Darnall Hall is an example of God’s love through others. I adore Stefanie and Max, and hope that I’ll continue to get to know them while I’m here at Georgetown and after I leave. The Chaplains here are so important to Georgetown’s mission. If you haven’t gotten to know your Chaplain(s) in Residence yet, I highly encourage you to do so. As they did for me, they may do for you, and you may find your eyes opened to God’s goodness on Earth. Otherwise, they are nevertheless amazing people, each and every one of them, and they want to meet and know you, so stop by and start a conversation.

This article was written by Susan Brynne Long, C’19