This past summer, I became a born-again Christian. I have since harbored a burning desire to share this experience with others. 

I was raised in a Christian household, however, as I moved into high school, I began neglecting most Christian teachings. I left little room for God within my life of rebellion. I usually justified these actions by highlighting the hypocrisy of the Church. Like many, I wrongly equated the Church—which is a broken and earthly institution—with the divine Word of God. I thus rejected Scripture due to human hypocrisy and fraudulence.

This year, everything changed. I first began to sense shifts during the second semester of my sophomore year. It began with a sudden disdain for Bowdoin’s hook-up culture. I gradually began to sense a darkness within the College’s social culture. This was not merely a recognition of youthful pitfalls. Some might call it the beginnings of a spiritual awakening. Others might say I was “finding” myself. For me and most other born-again Christians, it is obvious that God was chasing me. I became aware of the works of certain forces that semester, but I could not give the forces a name.

It was during this time that I also became more aware of a subtle emptiness within myself. In hindsight, this void had been present for years. It was not especially invasive; in fact, I had always been a fairly happy person. On paper, my life was amazing. I had a privileged childhood, seventeen years of elite education, great friends, hobbies and good grades. I was not fighting severe depression or dealing with family woes. Still, I did not know Fulfillment. 

One day during this past spring break, my mom brought home the film “War Room.” The movie’s plot centers around a mother who is able to rebuild her broken family with the assistance of Jesus Christ. This suffering woman is transformed into what believers often call a “prayer warrior.” I initially approached the film with skepticism and slight annoyance. However, about halfway through the film, I was overcome with unexplainable awe. Within days, I had repressed the movie’s message; fortunately, the film had already planted a seed of faith within me.

The turning point began at the onset of summer. I spent the first half of the summer conducting research on mass incarceration and the media as part of the Mellon Mays program. I spent almost every waking hour reading and writing in solitude. As I studied the oft-concealed history of our country, I began to see past the elite’s web of lies. The deceptive illusions blinding the public became startlingly apparent. This realization heightened my desire for knowledge. As my understanding of reality began to defog, it became obvious that a key piece of this puzzle was missing. 

Though I had become aware of the forces of darkness, the corresponding Light was my last and most precious discovery. As I was researching inside Helmreich House one July day, I found myself lost in an internet hole. I was deep in this study session when a source referred me to the Bible. Strangely enough, in my search for knowledge, I had inadvertently turned to the Book that I had previously deemed outdated. Needless to say, I was shocked by my findings. Within the prophecies describing the End of Days, I saw my own research. I saw the chaos and deception that characterizes modern society.

As we all know, this summer was especially violent. As I read, I realized that all of the brutality, confusion and destruction that we are seeing—such as increasing turbulence in the Middle East, government conspiracy and spikes in natural disasters—has been foretold. Not vaguely—specifically. In that moment, my spiritual understanding came full circle. I spent years attempting to ignore my Christian upbringing. This summer, it came back to me in the most alarmingly beautiful manner. 

After the Mellon Mays program ended, I began interning at the Innocence Project in New York. By no coincidence, my New York home was that of my mom’s good friend—a minister. In the city, my faith in Christ flourished. The Innocence Project—a nonprofit law clinic that serves the wrongly convicted—taught me the value and necessity of servitude. My days there strengthened my commitment to serving the underserved. On August 14th, I dedicated my life to Christ at a Brooklyn church.

Since that day, life has taken on a new meaning. Frankly, the insignificance of the physical world is now glaring. I have begun to understand the Spirit. Moreover, I now understand the true meaning of good and evil. I know it sounds crazy, and that’s because it is. Our world is obsessed with explaining life through logic and reason; as a result, our world is broken. That was my old world, and broken it was. 

I did not understand the term “born-again” until this ineffable transformation happened to me. I say “happened to me” because this transformation occurred by no action of my own. I had immense doubts and could not see past the facades of religious constructs. I was not searching for God when he found me; it is solely by His grace that I am found. Because of this transformation, I am able to truly see clearly for the first time in twenty years. I now know Life. And I am whole. 

John 9:24-25: “Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner. He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.”
Adira Polite is a member of the class of 2018.