photo/Kai Patterson
photo/Kai Patterson

This spring break, 26 students participated in the Metanoia expedition to Cape San Blas in Florida. They had the opportunity to devote time to their relationship with God while enjoying the outdoors. A large portion of the time was spent in solo time.

The word “metanoia” is defined as “a direct knowing of the highest – of God,” Buck resident counselor Jonathan Daugherty said. The trip is unique because each student is dedicated to working metaphysically. “I loved being with people in the group who also wanted to be in a spiritual state of mind,” said junior Noelia Ley. “This spiritual state of mind is helping me finish the semester stronger. I learned so much.”

This was the 17th Metanoia expedition taken. The first was in 2003 to New Mexico, with later ones to Puerto Rico, Florida, Colorado, Michigan and Tennessee.

During the week after returning from spring break, many students shared testimonies of healing at the CSO meeting as a result of their metaphysical study on the trip. “Three words: peace, joy, love. I feel on fire with peace, joy, love,” senior Dillon Siewert said. “I now want to have solo time every day and really incorporate what I learned in Metanoia in my everyday life. I also feel like I learned much about what it means to pray for the world.”

Students devoted approximately 40 hours to solo time. In the evenings, the group gathered back together and shared insights with each other. “Most of the inspiration I got was from what other people were sharing around the campfire everyday” freshman Lucy Karanu said. “Holly [Phillips], another freshman on the trip, shared a metaphor with me that she discovered when walking on the sand by the beach. She pointed out that no matter what you do to the sand – pour water on it, crush it with your hand, etc. – it doesn’t stop being sand.” Karanu related the metaphor to the ideas she learned in Christian Science. “No matter what you’ve been through, you are still the image and likeness of God.”

Many others emphasized how much they appreciated having time to themselves; it was the space they needed away from the structured academic schedule.

When discussing the inspiration for this expedition, Daugherty pointed to passages in the Bible where Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness, and Mary Baker Eddy’s time spent on a beach in Lynn, Mass. “College students are on the cusp of leaving 19 years of doing what they’re told to do in a school program to a place in life where what they do, where they go, who they live with, is entirely up to them,” he said. “When that day comes, it’s good to have developed this art or skill of turning to God so profoundly, that one hears what one’s next step in life could or should be. That’s the point of these trips.”

Senior Jessica Jordao agreed,“God and I became closer friends as I understood Him better during this trip.” “Through the study of Christian Science, I realized that happiness is spiritual and universal. If I seek only my own happiness, I will never reach it because true happiness is unselfish, pure, genuine, and giving. My path will be guided by Love, and I will be directed to the way where I can bless and be blessed the most.”

On the final day, sophomores Gabe Hudson and Bobby Witney stayed up all night talking about what they were reading in Science and Health because they were so inspired. Witney ended up reading the entire book during that week, a feat he had never accomplished before.

“On the last day, as we did our last solos, I woke up with a powerful sense of joy within me that I saw radiated on everyone else’s faces around me,” freshman Noah Hellmund said. “That joy I still feel somehow within me, and is bringing freedom to my own life. But it is also changing how I view the community around me, and how I can best serve a higher call to service.”

photo/Kai Patterson
photo/Kai Patterson
Image courtesy of Julia Suber