How My English Professor Saved Me
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How My English Professor Saved Me

“You may not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” John 13:7

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How My English Professor Saved Me

Had a bad day? Ended a relationship? Didn’t get the job you wanted? Maybe failed a test? Well, don’t worry because “everything happens for a reason.” Or at least that’s what we’re told. I’m sure you’ve heard this phrase more than once in your lifetime, and I’m also willing to bet you’ve questioned it more than once as well.

Now, it's no secret that I’ve had a rough year, and rough seems to be an understatement. As a recent transfer student with no direction, I felt lost when coming to this campus. An overwhelming feeling any college-aged student can relate to regardless of age or location. I was overpowered with all of my responsibilities, and as a result I fell short in a lot of them. The one constant I found comfort in was the bible verse I have tattooed on my wrist.

John 13:7 of the New Testament states, “You may not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” This can easily be translated into a multitude of things depending on personal belief. My interpretation is simple: you may not understand why you are in the specific situation you are in, but what you are going through now will only prepare you for what is to come, i.e. everything happens for a reason.

The idea of God or a higher being intervening with one’s life is a common debate that still rages today. The conversation of whether we as a species have free will or if some divine source -- some call it fate -- controls our destiny. Being baptized Catholic and raised in a Christian home, the idea of faith and religion were no mystery to me. Every Sunday morning the family hauled off to church and I went too, kicking and screaming. I drifted off during the sermon, attended Sunday school and asked Jesus into my heart (as I was told) and that was that. But now at 20 years old and finally growing into myself, I wish I hadn’t taken some of those many blessings for granted.

That being said, I’m a firm believer that God places people in your life for a reason. I also believe that Professor Stephen Lillis is one of those people. In a place where I found myself lost, Professor Lillis came into my life and helped me through one of the biggest personal struggles I’ve ever had: reclaiming my faith, and he did so unknowingly.

Professor Lillis, a professional pool player-turned-English professor, is also a published author. His autobiography, "But You Must!" tells of his journey through his professional pool career, overcoming tremendous obstacles all while trying to find a God (inspiring, I know). So when he had mentioned he would be doing a presentation about his book with a club on campus (later to find out it's the campus Christian fellowship) during common hour - I figured I’d drop in.

When I showed up, I was skeptical. I was having a particularly tough day that day and had to rethink whether I would even show up or not. I’ve never been forward about my faith, and I was second-guessing a lot of my direction in life at the time. So when I walked into this presentation, I wasn’t expecting what I was given.

"I call it illustrative messaging,” Professor Lillis said. “What I do is I have a series of trick shots. I take my professional trick shots and I use them as illustrations to try to use the position of the balls, colors of the balls, the numbers of balls, and the direction the balls are heading to relay different kinds of messages or life lessons.”

As he spoke these words of wisdom, I felt myself getting goosebumps. Everything I ever needed to hear at that moment was said; every encouraging word, every answer to any doubt, every bit of inspiration, motivation, anything…it was all said during that hour-long presentation. Having had no idea Professor Lillis was this faith-filled man had only brought me to believe that God had placed me in his literature course for that very moment.

I know that I will get through any obstacle that is thrown my way, just as Professor Lillis was able to overcome all he had in his lifetime. I’ve learned not only about the importance of pursing my passions, but to never lose sight of my goals and to always keep faith, because everything happens for a reason.

So when you find yourself lost or confused as to why you're stuck in a specific situation, know there is always a method to the madness. There is always a bigger picture. People come into our lives for specific reasons just as things fall apart so better things can come together. God does not take things from us without the intent of replacing it with something more deserving, and you are right where you are meant to be in this moment.

I can never really thank Professor Lillis enough for the strength he has given me and for reaching out to me when I needed it the most. He has opened my eyes and allowed me to reclaim my faith for the one who really saved me, Jesus Christ.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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