“Despair is the result of each earnest attempt to go through life with virtue, justice and understanding and to fulfill their requirements.”
– Hermann Hesse, The Journey to the East
A Catholic high school where students would carve “time for God” of their own volition. And yet: “since she doesn’t talk to anyone I can just punch her in the face, “money’s not hard to get, just ask your parents, “we should nuke Japan again, they deserve it”, “if you really have such a bad time in this country then just leave”.
I heard too many students parroting something counter to their Christian faith. Why? At a Catholic school you’d expect at least a bare minimum of tolerance for other cultures, ways of life, and individuals.
If people who’ve made it their life purpose to serve a “kind and just God” can’t a to show others the path to a united society then who can? And why should I bother giving this religion any ounce of respect? Those were the questions I asked myself at least once a month, if not more, while attending high school.
I’ve always been uncomfortable around people who can bad mouth others without the slightest hesitation. Same goes for people who have an over-inflated ego and grandiose sense of entitlement. And hoo-boy, was there plenty of both at my high school. There were plenty of decent students as well, but when even your teachers are suspect (KKK art books in plain sight) it’s hard to believe anyone means it when they bow their heads in church.
The biggest blow landed on me though wasn’t even a direct one. I nearly blew my lid when a male student ranted about how we needed to nuke Japan again. I tried talking sense into him, asked a school friend at the time for backup and all she did was shrug her shoulders like it wasn’t even worth her time. How? How can a person dedicate themselves to God but hold so much hate in them? It’s something I’ve never been able to understand.
I’m grateful for my last two years of high school. I learned in a closed off environment something that could have done more damage if I’d have learned it much later. No matter how they present themselves, or how others perceive them, keep your eyes and ears open. If you don’t want to end up with flashbacks to your school days, pay attention.
Today, I no longer question the merits of religion. I’ve seen and heard of many people who do wonderfully kind things because their religion dictates it. Things like bitterness, indifference, and hesitation do not color their acts. They take part in charitable events and smaller acts of kindness just because their good people. It seems like their religion prioritizes certain things and groups over others, but not at the expense of those others.
What I learned from my two years at a Catholic school is simple: Never make assumptions, good or bad, until you’ve seen with your own eyes; or better yet, do not let others dictate how you see the world and its people.
God is a comedian playing to an audience that is afraid to laugh.
You are here, intangible and you are all of the universe which I shape into the space of my room.
– from Frida Kahlo’s jornal, a letter to Rivera
These mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.
– Najwa Zebian
There is an angel inside me whom I am constantly shocking.
– Jean Cocteau
The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you; they are unique manifestations of the human spirit.
– Wade Davis
The more you try to be interested in other people, the more you find out about yourself.
– Thea Astley
One should never write down or up to people, but out of yourself.
– Christopher Isherwood
Inside every human being, there is unlimited time and space. In our exterior life, we can be only one person. But in our imagination, we can be anyone, anywhere.
– Janet Fitch