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Reflections on #metoo

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I was sitting down at Second Cup. She sat beside me. I was angry. I was sad. I was heartbroken. I wanted to punch someone. I wanted to hug her and tell her everything will be better. I wanted to weep because I know that not everything will be better.

She was at a party and a person she trusted took advantage of her.

I was on the phone talking to her. The same feelings I had came rushing in again. This time, it was a stranger who took advantage of her. I was furious.

Taken advantage. Had his way with her. Sometimes, we use euphemisms because we cannot handle the full weight of certain words.

Sexual harassment. Sexual assault. Rape.

The sad part is that her story is not new. I have been blessed with being surrounded by amazing women whom I have the honour and privilege of calling friends. And I have heard their stories. And it breaks my heart. A friend of mine had a first date with someone who touched her inappropriately and forced himself on her. What bothers me is that unfortunately, this has become such a norm that at first, she didn’t agree with me, when I said that the guy sexually assaulted her. “He’s just handsy,” or “he’s just horny,” becomes a familiar refrain.

Recently, on Facebook and Twitter, the hashtag #metoo has been trending and reading the stories of so many women I know and admire and care for has been both infuriating and heartbreaking. No one should ever endure that. No one should ever be touched in such a way that it violates their personhood.

So many women I know have suffered some degree of sexual violence. But I know that there are also a lot of men who have had to suffer in silence because of the sexual violence inflicted upon them. There are so many in the LGBTQ+ community where sexual violence is a daily reality.

There’s a scene in the movie “Mad Max: Fury Road” that has stuck with me ever since I saw it. It haunts me. On the walls are the words “We are not things.” It struck me because too often, we don’t value other people as human beings. We don’t see them as someone who has hopes and dreams and fears, just like us. We see them instead as tools to be used for our benefit.

This mentality lends itself to people using human beings as tools to achieve their pleasure. And let’s be real… the majority of the people who commit sex crimes are men. The rape culture that has unfortunately pervaded most of our society has allowed men to get away with a lot of things. By normalizing sexual deviancy, victims are made to feel like they’re the crazy ones for seeing sexually deviant acts as wrong. They’re made to feel as if they’re over reacting or their accusations are untrue or trivial.

When they finally decide to speak up, too often their perpetrators suffer no consequences for their action. The police are still working on my friend’s rape case. He works at Parliament Hill. The case is not advancing. The justice system often fails the very people they are supposed to protect. It’s no wonder that many women are silent. When they are already suspicious that nothing will happen and they hear a story of a woman who actually went to the police and receives the treatment she is currently receiving, it doesn’t help.

My Facebook timeline is filled with stories from women I know who have been on the receiving end of a crime. And it hurts my heart to read their stories. I wish I could give each and every one of you a hug and to let you know that I am so proud of you. I’m proud of you because I know how hard it is to tell others about what happened. I’m proud of you because it takes a lot of courage to overcome the shame that often accompanies such acts. I’m proud of you because vulnerability is one of the most bravest things you can do.

I’m grateful for people like you who encourage and empower others to do the same.

I long for the day when we would never hear of such crimes ever being committed. But until then, we need to change the world we live in. Men, we need to make sure that other men know it’s wrong to treat women as objects. When we are in our “Guys Night” events, we need to make sure that we let other men know that we will not laugh at jokes that seek to demean women or objectify them. We need to teach our children that girls are capable of anything and everything. We should not allow boys to grow up thinking that they’re better than girls because of the simple fact that they’re boys.

Until then, let us listen to the voices of those who are oppressed. Let us weep with them and mourn with them in the hopes that one day, we can also rejoice with them when the day of justice is at hand and when injustice is no more.

 

 

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Thanksgiving 2017

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I started the year with the desire to be better. I wanted to learn how to love myself. I’m not sure if I have done a great job of that. But I am thankful that I at least acknowledge the problem and wanted to make the necessary steps to achieve this goal. I think I’m slowly being more ok with myself. I’m not quite at the loving phase but I think I’ve been less resentful of myself. Baby steps I guess.

This year has been a whirlwind. I can’t believe that in a few months, it’s almost Christmas. I can’t believe that another year is almost over. I honestly don’t know how I feel about that. But I don’t want to think too much about the future that I forget the here and now. I want to live in the present.

And in this present, I just want to express my heartfelt gratitude. I am thankful for my family who supports me and my friends who continually encourage me. The PhD life is lonely and isolating. I’m thankful for people like Renee Robinson whose friendship over the years has brought so much laughter and joy in my life, for people like Justin Roberts who has this ability to speak into my life like no one can, for people like Josh Heath who continually challenges me to become a better man of God both physically and spiritually, for people like Josh Janzen whose desire to live a godly life is commendable, for people like David Fuller who has this keen awareness of how I’m doing, it’s uncanny, for people like Don Springer who always takes me out and talk about what’s bothering me when he senses that things are off, for people like Michelle Daniel who takes the initiative to reach out to me to make sure that I’m ok, for people like Sandi Hicks who may live in another province yet never fails to check up on me to see how I’m doing, for people like Rose-Ingrid Gracia who is living out her dreams and inspires me to do the same, for people like Lea Marte whose kindness and generosity towards people who are undeserving always convicts me to do the same, for people like James Lucas whose friendship over the years has never wavered. And there are so many others whose names aren’t mentioned here who encourage me, inspire me, exhort me, and challenge me to think properly about myself and who love me not in spite of me, but because of me.

Thanksgiving Week may be over but I would like to make sure that my attitude of thanksgiving keeps on going.

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Back to School

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I can’t believe I’m entering my fifth year of Ph.D. Has it really been this long? After finishing two years of course work, passing my comprehensive exams, modern language exam, and having my dissertation proposal accepted, I’m now in the process of actually writing my dissertation. To say that it has been an arduous journey is an understatement. It has been a difficult process. Sometimes, it can be easy to start thinking that one hasn’t accomplished anything worthwhile. Being in school for this long can sometimes make you feel that way. Recently, I was revising my CV and it was nice to see that I’m not as useless as I feel. It’s crazy to see the number of conference presentations I have been able to attend over the last number of years. It’s also been humbling that I’m in the process of working on some writing projects that I am considering submitting for publication. Seriously, I sometimes ask “Is this real life?” How did I get here?

I admit that I’m tired. I don’t really feel super refreshed heading into this school year. However, I am thankful to have people in my life whose presence refreshes me. Their words are often a balm to my soul and gives strength to my weary bones. I’m in the process of establishing a sustainable work schedule that seeks to address my whole being as a person. That means working out, hanging out with people and trying not to talk about school all the time, spending time with God, enjoying art… well, at least that’s the hope.

Here’s to another year of hopes, dreams, and lots of hustling. Looking forward to what the future has in store.

 

 

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The Return of the Prodigal Blogger

It has been awhile since I have last blogged. I guess that’s what happens when one has to deal with conference presentations, dissertation proposals, and the looming deadline of writing the actual dissertation. But, those are all excuses. At the end of the day, I’m just bad at time management. Sigh.

Well, I’m about to embark on a vacation of sorts so I have decided to write a quick blog post to let yall know I’m still alive. But what does alive even mean? I sometimes feel that I’m barely existing. The stress of a PhD program coupled with insecurities, feelings of failure, and constant bouts of wondering if I’m good enough, can take its toll on a person. I’m feeling rather raw… and vulnerable… so this post will be about my ruminations on the topic of vulnerability.

I would say that within the last decade, the concept of being authentic and vulnerable has shaped a whole new generation. We have grown up with this constant admonition to be “authentic”, to be a person who does not change for anything or anyone. But what does that even mean? Does that mean that if you are someone with jerk ish attitudes, you should just admit that being a jerk is what makes you you and that you should not change because to change your jerk ish attitude is to be false to who you truly are? I’m sure that’s not what people mean when they talk about being authentic… and yet this can sometimes be the unintended message. Same goes with vulnerability. We are supposed to share our thoughts with no fear of any repercussions. But we all know that in the digital world we live in, every Facebook post, every tweet, every snap we send out in the virtual world can come back to haunt our analogue lives. Yet, we are supposed to not have any masks and show the world who we truly are, whatever that means.

Yet, in reality, even being authentic and vulnerable with others can be another mask we put on. It becomes another performance we enact to gain some social capital in the circles we frequent. Maybe, there is no such thing as true authenticity or true vulnerability. Without the performative aspect inherent in these two concepts, we can come across as critical and judgmental human beings whose unfiltered thoughts and views tell the world that we are selfish and unruly tyrants.

If authenticity and vulnerability are not understood within the context of a relationship, it is of no use to the unlucky recipient of these two traits. When I share something that means something profound to another person, I choose my words carefully to elicit the feelings and emotions I want my words to convey. If I share a very difficult moment in my life to my friend, I will not only give the “objective facts” of what happened but also include the “subjective feelings” I felt during said event. Failure to add the emotional context is to present a false picture of what happened. Also, because I know my friend, I will use words and concepts that s/he can relate with. If I use academic jargon that obfuscates the issue, then I have failed to be truly authentic or vulnerable. I need to let the other person know what it was like to be me, to invite them in to my personal journey, and as the story unfolds, allow them to put themselves in my shoes. Authenticity and vulnerability is not about merely stating facts, but also giving permission to the other to become you.

This is what makes authenticity and vulnerability an unbelievably scary and terrifying act. Moments of true authenticity and vulnerability is like creating a horcrux… a piece of your soul is torn from you and given to another recipient. In that authentic and vulnerable moment, this other person now has a part of yourself that exists outside of you… and this part is something that is now forever a part of both of you. Your souls have now met and are intertwined and to separate it from each other is to destroy a certain part of yourselves in the process.

Yet, to be fully human, is to be relational. We are social creatures. We cannot live in isolation, as appealing as that that thought can be. I don’t think that it is surprising that cultures all over the world always manage to form a belief system that acknowledges this universal truth. Time and time again, people come together to form societies. Time and time again, we find objects of worship. If one does not believe in an external deity, worthy to be worshipped, they create one internally and make themselves their own object of affection and worth. There is no escape from this desire to participate with another, even if the other is found in one’s own very self.

As communal creatures, we seek the other. We want the other to like us, to affirm us, to be one with us. The hard part is discerning who those people should be in our lives. We cannot be 100% authentic and vulnerable with everyone. I don’t even know if I can do that with my own self, let alone with others! But, I encourage everyone to find someone you can trust and can confide in… who will help you bear the burdens of life because we are not meant to be alone.

As a Christian, I am thankful that the Christian God is one who constantly pursues me and woos me to himself. He is like a loving father who sings over me and is like a mother hen who protects me from harm. The psalmist speaks of how “though my mother and father forsake me” the Lord our God will not leave me. There is a beauty in that kind of love. I’m thankful that this type of love is something we are all called to embody.

We live in a world where strife and hostility is our everyday reality. Amidst the hate, let us all to seek to reach out in love, even when that’s the last thing we would like to do. In these moments of loving relationships, authenticity and vulnerability can bind us together, reminding us that love can overcome hate. Love will prevail… but it will come at a cost. The cost is our decision to rid ourselves of hate and submit ourselves to the continual process of loving and loving again.

If we are being honest with ourselves, that cost is too much to handle. It is a sobering reality that we are not as compassionate as we wish we could be. But, it is only when we come to that realization that we can appreciate how courageous it is to be authentic and vulnerable. It is a helpful reminder that authenticity and vulnerability is a precious gift and it must be cherished and adored.

So go ahead… be authentic… be vulnerable. Open your heart to pain and in doing so, you open your heart to unspeakable joy.

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“Truthiness” vs. Truth

I’m so thankful to be surrounded by so many friends who are ridiculously smart and just all around nice people. Today’s guest blog post is by my friend, Phil Strickland. With everything that is happening in our world today, his voice as an American evangelical Christian is one that needs to be heard amongst other competing American evangelical voices. His post is insightful and is an invitation for evangelicals to examine how they think and engage with Trump’s presidency based on how the Bible says Christians must think and act. – Sid Sudiacal

 

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Photo: Donald Trump’s first press conference after the election. Photo courtesy of The Wall Street Journal/Getty Images.

The Bible talks a great deal about the importance of truth and the dire consequences of lying. The world was cursed when man and woman believed a lie and disobeyed God (Genesis 3:1-19). Satan himself is called “the father of lies” (John 8:44), and “all liars” are said to be destined for judgment (Revelation 21:8). However, regarding truth, Jesus tells his followers that “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). The Holy Spirit’s mission is to guide Christ-followers “into all truth” (John 16:13). The word of God is said repeatedly to be “true,” since God cannot lie (e.g., Psalms 33:4, 119:151; Hebrews 6:18). In fact, in John’s Gospel, Jesus self-identifies as the very embodiment of “truth” itself (John 14:6). Scripture teaches us that, above all, Christians should be devoted to the truth (e.g., 1 John 5:20).

Let that sobering thought sink in for a moment before you continue reading….

The assertion that “all politicians lie” has become a maxim in our culture — and not without reason. Politicians of all stripes have been known to bend the truth and strain credulity from time to time. Spinning facts to comport with a partisan political agenda is a favored pastime for many Congressmen and women in Washington D.C. and the political operatives who serve as their surrogates in interviews on 24-hour cable news.

However, one thing that became painfully apparent in the recent presidential election is that, as far as politicians go, Donald Trump takes lying to a whole new level. Throughout the election cycle, the non-partisan organization PolitiFact meticulously tracked and evaluated the claims of the candidates running for office. They then ranked those claims based on degrees of truthfulness. During the campaign and following the inauguration, an astonishing 70% of Mr. Trump’s statements have been rated as differing degrees of false, with 51% being rated as simply “false” or “pants on fire.” None of the other candidates from either party even approached the threshold of Mr. Trump’s apparent disregard for the truth. Yet many among the conservative Evangelical right strongly supported Mr. Trump throughout his campaign and remain some of his most vocal supporters still.

There are a variety of reasons why Evangelicals have decided to support Mr. Trump. For instance, many view the Supreme Court vacancy as a potential means of reversing the effects of Roe v. Wade. Mr. Trump’s Evangelical supporters also find hope and security in his sweeping promise to “eradicate radical Islamic terrorism from the face of the Earth.” Many of Mr. Trump’s Evangelical supporters are also experiencing the same kinds of financial hardships as others who have been left behind in the fast-changing, global economy of the 21st century. Donald Trump’s election is, of course, also seen as a way to prevent what is viewed as a further descent into a liberal social order hostile to traditional Judeo-Christian values.

Evangelicals, like other Republican demographics who supported Mr. Trump, have also shown a powerful disdain for the “liberal media.” In fact, recent Gallup surveys show that public confidence in the media has dropped precipitously since the election as only 32% of Americans say they trust the press. Of Republicans surveyed, however, that number was just 14%. While a degree of caution is always warranted when it comes to media consumption, these statistics show signs of a disturbing trend towards an unhealthy skepticism by which even standard reporting of basic facts is easily dismissed as untrustworthy if those facts do not comport with some pre-determined partisan ideological narrative. Such rabid skepticism and hostility towards the press has frequently been stoked by Mr. Trump at his rallies, and again at his first press conference following the election. Mr. Trump’s pugnacious approach to the media is only heightened by the appointment of Sean Spicer, who is already proving himself to be one of the most combative and mendacious White House press secretaries in recent memory. Mr. Trump, in a visit to the CIA, has also falsely claimed that he never criticized the intelligence agencies over revelations about Russian hacking, and that this was a false story peddled by a dishonest media with whom he is at “war.” And now, in a move straight out of George Orwell’s book 1984,  we find Trump administration officials like Kellyanne Conway promoting some new kind of fantasy reality based on “alternative facts,” even though these “facts” are actually falsehoods easily disproved by real evidence. Americans thus find themselves in an existential crisis. A free press is a constitutionally-protected institution necessary to the preservation of a free and informed society. So, what happens when the press is undermined by the virulent partisan politics of the very society it is charged with protecting?

One problem that contributes to the issues the U.S. is facing is our country’s difficulty with media literacy. While several news organizations are credible, there are other networks and publications on both the “left” and the “right” who have a veneer of credibility that also serves as a conduit for partisan propaganda (e.g., the Huffington Post and Fox News). The internet is also littered with rabidly partisan conspiracy-theory sites that deliberately engage in misinformation campaigns in order to slander politicians seen as enemies and undermine public confidence in the press (think InfoWars, Drudge Report, and Addicting Info). As a result, many Americans simply cannot tell the difference between what is credible and what is not. Additionally, the tribal nature of partisanship in U.S. politics has led to different segments of the American population clustering around only certain outlets for any information that affirms their politics. We now have a problem with people, including many Evangelicals, preferring “truthiness” to truth. Truthiness, a word coined by the comedian Stephen Colbert, according to Webster’s Dictionary refers to “the quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true.” It refers to the feeling that something must be true, even without evidence or logic to back it up. Truthiness is truth “from the gut.”

Unfortunately, the current U.S. President also prefers truthiness to truth as well, and to potentially disastrous effect. Mr. Trump, who regularly trafficked in ridiculous conspiracy theories before and during the election, has now insisted that he will spend tax-payer money in order to launch an investigation into (extremely dubious) claims of massive voter fraud for the simple reason that his ego will not allow him to believe the indisputable fact that Hillary Clinton legitimately won the popular vote by a difference of nearly 3 million votes. Because Mr. Trump prefers to believe “alternative facts” instead of the overwheling scientific evidence surrounding the issue of climate change and its causes, he has ordered all references to climate change removed from the whitehouse.gov website and has issued gag orders to a number of government agenices like the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Parks Service with the goal of censoring out references to climate change from websites and social media feeds (fortunately NASA’s site on climate change is still intact…for now). Mr. Trump, also notoriously refused to accept the consensus verdict of the U.S. intelligence community that Russia was behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee as part of a larger influence campaign during the election, causing an obvious rift between himself and the intelligence agencies he must depend upon for U.S. national security — he only just recently has reversed course on this. The President is also convinced — against all evidence to the contrary — that torture works as an interrogation method, and is now musing about reopening CIA black-site prisons and reinstituting torture even though intelligence experts have widely condemned torture as ineffective and immoral (if anyone is an expert on torture, it’s Sen. John McCain — see his comments on the intelligence community’s decision to reject torture). And now, Mr. Trump also refuses to acknowledge the reality that terrorism is by far more of a domestic problem than an immigration problem; yet the fact remains that out of all of the lethal terrorist attacks that have occurred in the U.S. since 2001 none have been committed by anyone on an immigrant visa status, and none have been committed by refugees from Syria. Mr. Trump’s sensational characterization of our current situation as being one of “open borders” and rampant illegal immigration is a total misconstrual of the reality that has existed since the U.S. immigration system was completely overhauled after 2001, and shows a surprising lack of regard or even awareness of the incredible work on immigration and vetting being done by the Department of Homeland Security (the truth is that DHS should be given more credit than anybody else for the fact that another 9/11 type of terrorist attack hasn’t happened since 2001, and for the fact that no fatal attacks have been carried out by vetted immigrant persons). Yet the President issued an executive order indefinitely banning refugees coming from Syria who are seeking asylum even though the order doesn’t touch any of the countries where foreign terrorists who were associated with the 9/11 attacks originated or any European countries where terrorist attacks have happened recently. With one swift stroke of a pen, the President signed the ill-conceived order which soon sent the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department, and law enforcement officials into mass confusion, and which caused a great deal of needless anxiety for foreign nationals, legal residents, and refugees who had already been thoroughly vetted and properly awarded legal status by the U.S. government (part of the order has been blocked by a federal judge, and similar rulings are being made elsewhere in the U.S.). Lies, including those of the self-deception or truthiness variety, have consequences.

Of course, it’s also important to remember that lying is an all-too-human trait since every human being has lied at some point in his or her lifetime. So, when politicians criticize each other for lying, or when the press criticizes them, all parties should take care not to throw stones in glass houses. However, Evangelicals, as truth seekers, need to be willing to allow real facts (not “alternative facts”) to inform our view of the world. We also need to be able to agree on what the real facts are so that we can have a coherent basis on which to hold both the press and politicians accountable, and by which we can work together to address significant spiritual, moral, and societal problems. There are a number of issues where American society could stand to benefit from greater intellectual honesty from Evangelicals, including problems related to civil rights, immigration, climate change, gun violence and healthcare.

This brings us back to the beginning of this article. The Bible is unequivocal in teaching that Christians should be seekers of truth. This applies to all areas of our lives as Christians, including our media consumption and including our politics. A commitment to the truth, therefore, should always trump (no pun intended) our political ideology. It is imperative that we have the courage of conviction to follow the truth wherever it might lead, even if that truth turns out to be inconvenient. Evangelicals do need to hold the press accountable. However, we also need to hold President Trump and his administration accountable as well, regardless of whether one voted for him and regardless of how wonderful his promises might sound to some people. At some point, reality always has a way of catching up to us, and a dishonest and opaque government is a reality which could have dire consequences for American society, especially for those who are least powerful and most vulnerable. A lie is still a lie no matter who tells it.

 

Phil Strickland is a PhD student at McMaster Divinity College. He spends his days researching, writing, and building Lego sets with his awesome kids.

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Community and Belonging: Pappas Patristic Institute Summer Program 2016

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Last week, I had the great opportunity and privilege to participate as a Teaching Fellow for the Pappas Patristic Institute’s summer program. I was there last year and enjoyed my time so I came back for another year. There’s a certain feeling of home when I enter the Hellenic College Holy Cross campus. I come from an evangelical background and yet, in many ways, I feel more at home in this Greek Orthodox setting than in an evangelical church context. Perhaps, it is because I’m surrounded by people coming from diverse backgrounds. I have friends coming from Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, Coptic, Methodist, Baptist, and other Christian traditions. Despite our different backgrounds, we are all united in our desire to learn from, and understand, the words of wisdom handed down to us by our spiritual ancestors. It’s a little taste of heaven on earth! There were 12 (!!!) courses to choose from this year and trust me, it was a struggle because I wanted to go to every one of them! This year, I took “The Gospel of Matthew in the Patristic Tradition” taught by Dr. Brian Matz (Fontbonne) and “The Theology and Hermeneutics of Irenaeus of Lyons taught by Dr. David Jorgensen (Colby College).

As we studied together, I was reminded that there is nothing new under the sun. We are not the first society to deal with the problem of evil, of violence, of discord, of natural calamities, of economic injustices, of competing biblical interpretations, etc. The words of the ancients, written so long ago, still have the power to touch and transform us because there are some truths that can stand the test of time. As we look at the text, argue about how we should understand it, talk about the social context in which they lived in, we are left forever humbled and changed by it. Personally speaking, I just find it so refreshing to have the level of conversations I have had with everyone. If you want to be smart, surround yourself with smarter people than you. I have definitely been a believer of that advice and this week, I definitely got smarter as I interacted with such amazing minds. I think it is hilarious that whenever there was any debate in terms of trying to understand a certain passage, the admonition to “look at what it says in Greek” becomes the call we all heed. And maybe that’s what I enjoyed the most about this group of people who gathered together to learn from the Church Fathers… we came to learn from the text and we want to know what the text means. Any interpretation we may have concerning the text is first and foremost based on the text. The text is the ultimate control of any interpretation. Too often, I am around people who have Scriptural interpretations that do not take into account the whole of the Scriptures. For once, I am with people who acknowledge the primacy of the text over our own interpretations. There’s something beautiful about that. It becomes less a debate about ideas of what we think the text is about but actually debate about what the text is trying to say. I cannot tell you how beautiful it is to have that type of learning environment. We spend time looking at the text, mulling over the text, digesting the text, and just eating it up. To say that it was fulfilling cannot fully capture the feeling.

At the end of the day, any organization is really less about the program, but more about the people. I am thankful for the leadership of Dr. Bruce Beck in organizing this week of awesomeness. In many ways, his belief that it is important to learn as a community is reflected in how he has organized this program and its outcome. I’m blessed to get to know so many awesome people over the past 2 years. These people are legit smart and I can’t help but feel dumb around them because they’re so smart. Even though they’re smart, they are also the funnest and friendliest people I have ever met. Definitely came out of it feeling spiritually refreshed, rejuvenated, and replenished. Looking forward to next year!

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When Enough is Enough

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For today’s Wednesday Writings, I wanted to share a new poem I wrote. This poem was inspired by real life events. It is a mixture of different people I have encountered whose life situations were all different but strangely connected by one thing: addiction. There is something incredibly frustrating and painful for people who suffer through addiction of any kind. There is that daily struggle of succumbing to the temptation or fighting through it with teeth clenched. There is the awful feeling of guilt and shame, that you can never live up to everyone else’s expectations even if you want to. You know that you are hurting the ones you love and the last thing you want to do is cause them pain because of your actions but at the same time, sometimes you just can’t stop yourself from feeding the addiction itself.

So many times, when we see and meet people who are addicts, there’s a tendency to think “Why can’t you just stop what you’re doing? Look at how you’re hurting yourself and others around you!” It’s not as if the person doesn’t know that. It is hard to love an addict because in some ways, you have to be ready to be disappointed. Sure, things can get complicated and messy and confusing… but I hope that we would never stop loving even when it hurts to love.

 

 

Safi*

You look at the ground, cloudy eyes, creating raindrops that fall to the floor

Wondering

Waiting

 Wishing

Why?

Why can’t I change?

The destruction you leave behind in your wake knows no bounds

It is true what they say

The ones you love are the ones you hurt the most

She turns to look at you

For the last time

You break her heart into a million pieces because of your actions

She breaks your heart into a million pieces with her last glance

Just another broken relationship

In a long line of broken relationships

Broken hearts

Broken promises

Broken lives

You wonder

You wonder if this is what your life is really all about

Is it but heartache and pain?

You wait

You wait for healing that does not come

Is it for everyone but me?

You wish

You wish that things were different

Is it futile to hope for a better future?

You look at the ground, your face mirrored in the pool of tears, and scream into the nothingness you have created.

*Safi is a Moroccan word meaning “enough”