Young adults discuss how to get through times of transition - Catholic Courier

Young adults discuss how to get through times of transition

In her career, Sister of St. Joseph Joan Sobala has had to move her home 16 times and her place of work 10 times.

So when Sister Sobala — pastoral administrator of Our Lady of Lourdes/St. Anne Catholic Community in Brighton and Rochester — spoke about transition with area young adults, she drew on years of personal experience.

As part of the summer Theology on Tap young-adult discussion series, she led a talk on “Jesus and the In Between Times: Finding Jesus During Times of Transition” at Jitters Caf√© in Henrietta July 28.

Participants cited examples of transitions in their lives, including moving from youth to adulthood, starting at a new school, moving to a new place, getting married, and getting through the death of a relative or friend.

Regardless of the type of life change, those in transition often feel disorganized or disconnected as their routines or patterns change, Sister Sobala observed.

“One of the things that can happen when we are in between times is that things fall out of our life,” she said. “Church observance, or going to church, falls out of our lives.”

In addition to feeling a loss of connection, people in transition also may feel fear or resentment. Sister Sobala said one way to deal with these emotions is to live out the oft-repeated biblical phrase “Do not be afraid.”

She said we can instead model our transitions on Jesus, who throughout his life grew in awareness of who he was and what he was to do.

“The life of Jesus was a series of transitions,” Sister Sobala remarked.

Sometimes transitions were not of his own making, Sister Sobala noted, including the time when a Phoenician woman from Syria, who asked for a miracle for her daughter, taught him to serve Gentiles as well as Jews. In another instance of a transformation, she said Jesus learned from Mary, his mother, to be accepting and flexible after Mary called on him to perform a miracle at the wedding at Cana.

In other instances, Jesus played the main role in transforming his life and the lives of others. Sister Sobala said one example of this was when he directed his Apostles to feed the multitudes with the few loaves and fishes that they had.

She said Jesus knew by the end of his life that he was loved by God, and he was able to share that love even as he was tormented. She said young adults should take away the lesson from Scripture that they are loved by God, no matter what happens.

In addition to remembering God loves us, Sister Sobala said we should be open to God’s work in our lives, call on the Holy Spirit, have a strong identity and a sense of our vocation, have good role models, and chronicle past transitions so we can remember our coping mechanisms in the future.

She noted that many celebrities are models of how not to go through transitions, since many are unable to move on after a stop or change in their career.

“We need to have some flexibility in our lives, in our thinking,” Sister Sobala said.

Participant Barnaby Bienkowski, a parishioner of Rochester’s Blessed Sacrament Church, said he found the discussion to be timely for him, since he recently attempted to start a business. After that opportunity fell through, Bienkowski said he started a job with another company.

He said he has long believed that a person can’t control things, but that a person can control the way he or she reacts to things. Faith plays an important role in how people can react positively to transitions, he said.

“If you have faith to withstand change, you can regroup after things fall apart,” Bienkowski said.

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