jesus, where do i start?


my heart was pounding, as it usually does whenever it gets ready to speak. i had rsvp'd for a free lunch in the student center, and they were showing a video about st. ignatius of loyola, which would be followed by a discussion. i signed up for the free lunch, but i was also interested in ignatius. you see, i took this ignatius spirit and practice class at seattle u, and it had a great impact on me. maybe it was the fact that the class was deliriously early in the morning (started at 8:00 a.m.), or the fact that conversations were so boring, that i just had to speak up and say what i've been meaning to say for the past nineteen years of my life. i could do no wrong in that class. once, i even wrote about something completely off, and my professor, a jesuit, still gave me an "a" because he said it was meaningful and well-written, and he said that i should "seriously consider becoming a jesuit."

i think i would become a jesuit, if the order allowed sex with women and/or light-sabers. i think about ignatius a lot, and this idea of how self-reflection leads to action. the table discussion was off to a weak start. people talked about how their work fits in with the jesuit mission and blah blah blah. i realize now that i'm the kind of person who just wants to cut through all the crap. i just went into it. "i've gone to jesuit schools my whole life, and i really value these ideas of being self-reflective and service-oriented." i didn't know where i was going with this, but i continued anyway. "it's interesting to see this video on ignatius now that i'm out of college. i just think that now there's so many problems in the world, that it's difficult for people my age, and of my generation, to even know where to begin. i mean, there's global injustice, global warming..." at this point, i started to see the looks on people's face change. this is supposed to be a light lunch and discussion, buddy. what are you trying to pull here?

i didn't say all that i needed to say, and that's always been part of the problem. i hold back a lot of it, for fear of making people uncomfortable, or fear of coming across as a downer. i told them how i am constantly struggling between reality and idealism, and how i want to work for the poor, but i also recognize the need for financial stability. i wanted to tell them how i felt like this school is good, but at the same time, it's bullshit. how do we work for the poor while paying off loans and feeling financially imprisoned? i didn't get any real answers, but for some reason, i was still expecting them. the woman next to me said something like, "you're what? late twenties?" i said, "twenty-five." "well, mid-twenties." and then she went on to say some nonsense about nothing.

i don't know how she was able to smile through her presentation. i don't know how she can walk around campus and say that these students are doing good. sure, they're doing good. they're bettering themselves, after all. but for the most part, i believe they're just here because it's the road that all americans are supposed to take, the road that will hopefully lead to a comfortable life with air conditioning and kids running through sprinklers on a well-trimmed lawn. as i exited the student center, two blondes were chatting behind me. "so, what movie were we talking about?" "american gangster." "oh yeah. i was saying how i wanted denzel in that."

if ignatius, jesus, or socrates were alive today, he'd be ignored by the media, and he wouldn't have a clue about where to begin.

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