“SO glad you made it here this morning,” I hear from the guy with two pounds of gel in his hair. It is 8 a.m. and my eyes are as heavy as bricks as I walk into my confirmation retreat. Confirmation is one of the most important events in your life, and I am lucky enough to be experiencing this. Although I am very excited about Confirmation, I am not so excited about the retreat. I have to spend eight hours in a gym with people I have not talked to in years.
I smell ripe bananas and hot, glazed donuts. I had been dreading this retreat for at least a month, so I would rather be spending my Saturday doing anything else other than this. The guy with too much gel, whose name is Matthew, leads me to the huge room I am about to spend my whole day in. The draped curtains in the back of the room are a ruby red and the walls are a vanilla ice cream color. I hear the chitter chatter of young voices and Matthew asking to quiet everyone down. As I go to put my pink purse on the cold, tile floor, I hear Matthew telling everyone to get in a circle. As my group is getting in the circle, which is more of an oval shape, I look around the large room to see who I know. Matthew’s voice is as loud as a concert and he has as much energy as a kid who just ate a gallon of snickers. He tells the large group to separate into five smaller groups, which takes about ten minutes. As we got settled in, I see I have six other members in my group and I hear, “This is your group for the rest of the day.” I know half of my group from middle school so I tell them hello. This room feels like an iceberg, so I feel a sense of relief when I realize my comfy, grey sweater is tied around my waist. I hear Matthew, from across the room, telling us to do some “icebreakers” by telling our small group where we go to school, how old we are, and what grade we are in. Each person in my group, quiet as a mouse, answers the three questions. The first hour is as awkward as seeing your teacher in public, no one wanted to speak first or even be here this early on a beautiful Saturday morning.
Matthew finally tells us to come back together as one group. We sit in uneven rows on
hard, small fold up chairs. I look up and see Matthew preparing a PowerPoint in the front of the room, knowing he is about to give a long speech about how Confirmation should be special, make us closer with God, etc. Surprisingly, he does not. He pulls up beautiful pictures of him and his wife with golden hair laughing and sitting on a bench. “I sent her a Facebook message, asking to hang out,” Matthew says. I wonder how this can be relevant to me getting Confirmed. Matthew keeps talking a mile per minute, saying how his wife and him finally get to meet, after months of talking. He says how he tells this blonde haired girl that he prayed for a wife for two months, and she walked away right after he told her that. He says how he was confused and regretted saying that, but then she came back two minutes later. She showed him a journal she had been writing in it. It was a prayer journal, and she wrote about how she was praying for a spouse exactly two months ago. My eyesight is starting to blur and I feel water in my eyes. I feel a warm tear streak down my face. I look around the room and there is not a single dry eye in the room. This is the point I realize why I am here. God works in mysterious ways, and He always has a plan.
Matthew finishes his touching story and all I hear the the air condition turn on. No one wants to say a word because we are all just thinking about Matthew’s story. “Please take a paper and a pen and write the reason you want to be confirmed,” I hear. I grab the thin, white paper and number two pencil. I begin thinking as the real reason I want to be confirmed. I did not just want to be confirmed because everyone tells me to and it “should be the greatest experience in my Catholic life.” I realize that God answers my prayers, maybe not exactly how I ask them, but always in the best way possible. This is the point that I am excited to be Confirmed. I want to be closer to God and develop a relationship with him.