By: Olivia Orfanello
Coming to UA, my faith life was what I’d describe as lukewarm. I came from a small town in southern Alabama, where I didn’t know many catholic people my own age. I never got the chance to have the deep spiritual connection with other Catholic teens that I never knew I craved.
When I got here, in the beginning, every single person that I met was Catholic. Every. Single. One. My first thought was, “This is a sign from God!” I’m pretty sure I was right because every Catholic person that I have met is not afraid to talk freely about their faith and the things that they personally struggle with, which in turn makes me feel more comfortable to share my own thoughts, experiences, and struggles.
Eventually the time came when I began forming other relationships with people who weren’t catholic/religious, and the difference in those friendships was like night and day. I couldn’t relate to those people in all the ways that my heart wanted to. As I began to spend more time with them, I noticed that I began putting my relationship with Christ on the backburner. Dust started collecting on my bible, and my bible study hadn’t seen me in weeks. I was so unhappy. It took some time and some breakdowns for me to realize why I was so unhappy. It was then that I realized, how can I expect to stay on fire for the Lord if I don’t surround myself with people who are trying to do the same? Well, I can’t.
As time progressed, I got more involved in my faith and I began to realize how much happier I was becoming as I surrounded myself with people who were also running toward Christ. It’s not that other friendships aren’t important, because they are. However, it is important to know the difference and prioritize the virtuous friendships that we have because those are the people that we are going to watch and imitate in our run towards Christ. Let your faith root your life and let your friendships blossom from it.