One night during his junior year, University of Findlay senior Colton Sayers had reached the lowest point of his life. He was alone in his room, depressed and uncertain if any future happiness was in store for him.
It’s a feeling that many have experienced, but that few have felt comfortable expressing, let alone publishing for all of the world to read. Sayers chose to do the latter, thoroughly and unabashedly, in a self-published book titled, “Journey: A Testimony in the Search for Meaning in the Life God has Created for Us.” Totaling 130 pages, the book details his many tribulations that led to that one lonely night, how he moved on from it and what he’s learned from it all.
Sayers is Catholic and his book, as its title illustrates, is overtly religious. Sayers grew up in the southwestern Ohio town of Okeana, and graduated from LaSalle High School, a private, all-male Catholic school in Cincinnati. His chapters begin with inspiring Bible versus that pertain to the situations he describes about his life. His messages to himself and to his audience reinforce his belief in an ever-present God, even as he describes circumstances that cause him to occasionally stray from his faith.
But Sayers said his overall purpose for writing the book is as much about helping others as it is about helping himself. While the writing was therapeutic, the words are meant to inspire others who have fallen on hard times, he said.
“My main message is, you can get through it. It may take longer than you expect, but you can,” Sayers said. “Don’t give up hope.”
At age 22, Sayers has already had plenty to overcome. When he was in middle school, his father died from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, it is a rapidly progressive neurological malady that weakens the muscles.
As his father neared the end of his life, Colton wrote about his conversations with and anger at God. “Every night I would pray to God, ‘if You will not help my dad get better, then please just let him go.’ I felt selfish praying this, but at this point in my life I had had enough,” he wrote.
Other deaths in his family, and witnessing the sudden death of a friend in the school pool where he and his swim teammates were practicing, also traumatized him.
As a UF student, Sayers’ personal hardships have affected his academic life. He has relinquished swimming and being a resident assistant to concentrate on his studies. While he clearly excels as a writer, he hopes to become an occupational therapist. “Helping younger kids is my passion,” he said.
Faith, family and friends have sustained Sayers, who remains optimistic about his future. In the book, he tells himself and readers, “God has a purpose for your pain, a reason for your struggles, and a reward for your faithfulness.” The book’s last page emphasizes, “We need to remember that we are never alone in these journeys. In every obstacle there is a life lesson to be learned. In every struggle, we build upon ourselves.”
“Journey” can be purchased online at www.lulu.com.