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By Ally Rellinger

Happy summer everyone! The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and no school! For college students this can mean going home, staying near school, working, traveling, and so many different possibilities. This summer I (reluctantly) decided to go home and work at the same place I did last summer. After being home for three days I can honestly say that I was ready to be back in Akron. My parents, a few extended family members, and a couple of close friends are the only appeals to being back home. My brother and many others who I hold close to my heart are within an hour of Akron for summer, and I have missed them more than I thought possible.

Before coming to Akron, I had never had the kind of intentional friendships I have made this past year. It has been an absolute blessing to find these lovely people who believe the same things I do, and who are earnestly seeking to grow in their relationship with Christ. Last summer I witnessed my brother go through a similar struggle. He was also itching to get back before long, and now I really understand why. Since I had never experienced such support in my faith from people my age, I had never known what I was missing. From the beginning of the school year, I quickly formed important relationships and found that I was not as alone in my experiences as I had thought. It was refreshing to be welcomed into a group of people that had a faith so powerful and contagious.

I began going to daily mass as the school year progressed which is something I had never done before, and it made me so happy to see people my age there. So, this summer I did some investigating and found that I would be able to make it to daily mass twice a week. I love going to mass, but here in my hometown mass is much different because there are a lot less people that attend, and I am usually the youngest person there by at least 20 (sometimes 30 or 40) years. I very much miss my friends and St. Bernard’s, BUT I also know that there is a season for everything.

As I spend the summer in a factory, hoping the time goes by quickly, I have a lot of time to spend thinking. I have thought about the whirlwind of craziness and joy from my first year as a college student, the upcoming year and all of my hopes and goals, and I have spent a lot of time in prayer. I have come to realize that this short season in my life is one that gives me an amazing opportunity, all I have to do is be open to it. I have realized that every time I want to complain about my job, I should be giving thanks to God that He has blessed me with the ability to physically do the work that I do; to be thankful that I can put in an honest day’s worth of work. I am thankful to know many of the people I work with- they all have different stories and enjoy talking about their families and giving advice to all the college kids. Working in a factory is easier when you work with kind and funny people who like to celebrate birthdays with pizza parties and who make you laugh so hard you cry, and for this I am so thankful.

Most importantly, I realized that every time I feel isolated in my faith, it is an invitation to dig deeper in my personal relationship with Jesus, to lean fully on Him, and to trust that everything happens in God’s timing. I have been able to really discover what it means to find true joy in the ordinary (and often dreaded) tasks of life, and because of this, I am constantly in awe of the way the Lord works. I ask that you pray for me as I spiritually recharge for the upcoming year, and trust me when I say that I am praying for you all and absolutely cannot wait to see everyone very soon!!!

“We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

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