Psalm 121: The Lord the Keeper of Israel. This verse, has always held a dear place in my heart, though I never read it in the Bible, I knew the psalm in song. This psalm has helped me to make some very important decisions in my life, ones that I have to make now: what should I do after I graduate? Should I look for a job? Go to Law School? Should I do a year of service volunteering? These are the questions that are running through my mind now as a college senior, I feel anxious and alone over making decisions that would ultimately have huge impacts on my life.
I know that I alone cannot make this decision, rather I need my strength and discernment to come from God; I did this once at the beginning of my college career and now I have to do it again at the end.
My journey started in May 2016, right before I graduated from high school; I had to decide what college I would be attending. Although this seems like a basic struggle that all senior students endure, my situation was a little different. I was accepted into the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) at Fordham University, an institution that I used to drive past on my way to my elementary school in Riverdale. It was a school that my mom and I dreamed of me going to, one that had always been in my plan. Going to Fordham through HEOP would have given me the opportunity to study at my dream institution, graduate with no loans, and still stay close to home. But, God had other plans for me.
2016 was also the same year as the World Youth Day pilgrimage in Poland with Pope Francis. This was a trip that I had spent an entire year preparing and fundraising, a trip that I knew I had to go on. One of the requirements to be in HEOP is to attend a six-week summer program on campus; had it been any other year this decision would have been extremely easy and I would have spent the next four years of my life screaming “LET’S GO RAMS” during the Battle of the Bronx games against Manhattan College. But, it wasn’t a different year and the decision of going on this life changing pilgrimage or attending my dream school fell onto my lap; my mom wouldn’t make a decision for me, this had to be one I made by myself. So naturally I listened to music and I sang songs because this is my favorite way to reflect on anything that is happening in my life.
I sang Psalm 121 to help me make my decision: “My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”
God wanted me to have an encounter with him during the pilgrimage in Poland and I knew that my help came from Him and that He would not abandon me. I decided to go on the pilgrimage and attend Manhattan College. These were probably two of the best decisions that I have ever made. That trip became a memorial in my life because I knew that through my own strength I couldn’t make a decision, but only through trusting in him God. I had to let go and let God.
I trusted in God because I knew that he would protect me and never lead me astray. We are all on our journeys through life and we have all made decisions that have led us to this very moment; now that we’re in quarantine, is the time for us to reflect on our journeys. It is the time for us to be grateful for the experiences that we have had.
Though this quarantine was not a part of my plan, I know that it is a part of God’s plan. I am using this time to reflect on my journey and also think about what God has in store for me in the future; we should all take the time to appreciate our loved ones and to thank those people working hard to keep us safe.
John Baptist de La Salle once said “one thing led to another in an imperceptible way, that I originally did not foresee.” Don’t forget the past, because it leads to your present, and guides your future.