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Archive for the ‘Reflection’ Category

Tommy Belton, 2013


Tommy’s Acceptance Speech:

Good evening everyone, as Jonathan said, my name is Tommy Belton, and I’m currently a sophomore at Boston College.

Last year I enrolled in PULSE, a philosophy and theology course with emphasis on learning from experience. Aristotle once said “What we have to learn to do, we learn by doing” and that is essentially the mission of pulse.  Because in addition to standard reading, PULSE requires 10-12 hours of volunteer work at a site of your choice. I chose The Shepherd House as my placement and could not be happier with my decision.I set out to see the positive aspects of group recovery, and I was blown away by the resiliency of all of the residents, and personally touched by the stories I heard.

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Spencer Kim, 2013

It’s Thanksgiving and KOST 103.5 has started their Christmas Carol marathon. You can count on KOST to kick off the Christmas holiday even before you’ve celebrated Thanksgiving, but I have no complaints. My mom is running back and forth, kitchen to garage, hauling hunks of meat and various vegetables for our Thanksgiving lunch. I hear the faint sounds of my dad’s record player from the garage, blaring Simon & Garfunkel vinyl’s, as he pulls out chairs and tables. My sister is being lazy as ever, sitting in front of her computer, with the excuse of having so-so-so-so-so-much homework, browsing through page after page of do-it-yourself crafts on etsy.com. And, here I am, streaming KOST 103.5 from my computer and trying to put off the vacuuming that needs to be done before relatives arrive. I’m trying to assemble a thorough wish-list for this Christmas, to help guide friends and relatives in buying something for me; I’m trying to trim down on the list of people I have to buy presents for; I’m trying to figure out the budgeting for Christmas this year; and I’m thinking of how I should approach my parents with the final cost of the season of giving this year.

No Christmas was complete without the long list of people I had to buy presents for. I took gifting seriously, it was a very feel-good experience that came with the holiday; it wasn’t an easy task, but well worth the effort. I don’t know how I did it every year. I was young, eager, naïve and wanted to be Santa Clause.

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Andrew Sexton, 2011

In the summer, with baseball in the air and salt stinging my eyes. In the fall, with a cool brisk breeze and golden afternoons. In the winter, with grey skies overhead and snow in the forecast. And the spring, with those fleeting weeks separating the two titans, winter and summer. The time in between, when a t-shirt is too little, and a sweat-shirt heavy with perspiration. These are the running seasons.

Running amuses, invigorates, clarifies, and strengthens. For as far as my memory stretches, running has been an important part of my life. It has helped me through hard times and improved the good times. During my freshman year at college, I ran in the Boston Marathon. Suddenly, I was faced with a challenge of a caliber I had not previously ever encountered. Running used to just enrich things that were already a part of my life. Now, in presenting a challenge to me, running added something. It revealed parts of myself of which I was not previously aware. It made me a better person. (more…)

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Spencer Kim, 2013

The pain was more distant, but still very present.
Even after five years of numbing.
You’d never guess, passing her by in the streets, the burdens she carried, the worries that ate away at her every night.
You’d never guess, listening to her, the burdens she carried, the worries that ate away at her every night.
You’d never guess.

Watching her sister drive away in a white pickup van, knowing that this could very much be the last time she would ever see her again—she’d never tell.

This is a story about South Korea, North Korea, about hope, uncertainty, and relentless faith—a story of hope in a dark, dark place. (more…)

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A Silent Reflection

Tim Luk, Class of 2010

You’re on a date and things are going great.  You’re at a chic, classy restaurant, you look sharp, and everything is going well…until a dreaded silence enters.  You run out of things to talk about, and you look around for inspiration, grasping for air…

What is it about silence that is so uncomfortable?  Silence is a bad sign on a first date.  It shows that you two don’t get along.  Silence is bad in a classroom.  It shows that you don’t care, didn’t do the reading, and are disinterested in the subject matter.  When someone shares something really personal or troubling, the silence that follows can be awkward and almost threatening, as if it is your job to comfort.

In our society we prize people that are outgoing and confident.  To be extroverted is better than to be introverted.  Why is it we are so afraid of silence?

Over spring break I went on the Adventure retreat, which is mostly silent, challenging myself to find comfort in that silence.  A group of six BC students, one priest, and one deacon went out to The Walker Center, a mere ten minute walk from the Riverside stop on the D-Line, to center ourselves in silence, but as a community.  We ate in silence; we walked in silence; we sat in silence.  First the obvious question: how are you supposed to build community without talking to one another?  At first, it was the most uncomfortable situation I’ve ever been in.  Meditate in silence in my room…and no one ensuring that I do this?  I could sleep, read, putt around on my computer…and no one would know.  The only thing I had was a list of suggested topics to help focus my thoughts and the words Father Collins and Deacon Dyer said before each meditation, but the only direction I had to truly take was my own.

As a non-religious, not really spiritual person, this was damn difficult.  I mean, come on, what was I supposed to do, come to some unknown realization about myself?  Find God?  Talk with myself?  At the time I didn’t know what I was supposed to do, but since I was here, I decided to give it a shot.  Why the hell not.

When I sat down on my bed, closed my eyes, and perhaps for the first time, really tried to focus, I realized I couldn’t.  What were my friends doing?  Why was I in Boston instead of a warm, tropical paradise for Spring Break?  I’m hungry.  I have an itch.  How much longer do I have to do this?  No more than thirty seconds would pass before another random thought popped into my head (don’t believe me?  Try it. Right now.  Concentrate on anything, and try retaining it and dwelling in it without having any other concept spring to mind).  I was supposed to examine a particular topic, for example, the incarnation, God’s mercy, God’s love, or sin.  To put it quite succinctly, the two-hour meditations were long, boring, and unfocused.

Perhaps it was stubborn pride, or maybe I was trying to prove that I was beyond meditation, but I kept at it.  Somewhere along the way, though, I learned how to be still.  I was alone with my thoughts.  I realized how much was really distracting me in life.  When not talking, I started noticing so many little things.  At dinner, since we couldn’t interact with each other verbally, I could focus instead on the food.  I realized how much better it tasted when I took the time to really savor it, not just mechanically shovel it down. I could start to identify people by their footsteps.  There was no rush, no…need to be anywhere, nothing hanging over my head…my only purpose then was to be present. In the silence, I had the time to do what I couldn’t do, which was become comfortable with myself. For me, the real challenge of facing silence is facing yourself.  It was more emotional than I ever imagined.  I didn’t know I could cry just by thinking about past actions or events.  The silence was threatening; I had no one to turn to for comfort as a wallowed in my own failures.  But I needed to learn how to find strength in myself, and that only came about with the resolution to improve myself as a person.

Nothing has felt better than in that moment when I wrestled with myself and came out victorious.  After the tears subsided, after the pain left, I realized that what I was left with was something that hadn’t come easy to me:  self-love and confidence, and a belief that, hey, I can actually do this.  The silence then became calm and peaceful, reflecting the stillness that I had found within.

So I found something I, in fact, wasn’t looking for.  But I guess that’s called a blessing then, isn’t it…?

The next time you find yourself in that awkward silence, which is inevitably bound to happen, try thinking about what is really so awkward about it.  Maybe you’ll find that the answer is simpler than you originally thought it was; it’s just a matter of finding comfort in the uncomfortable.

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