Fleeting and Eternal

I often sit and stare at the sky, watching the clouds drift and dissolve in silence. Bugs

Picture of St. Francis Hall, St. Bonaventure. Taken by me.

furrow through the grass. Pools of shadow sift light. Branches murmur in the wind. Now and then, people cross on sidewalks, their soft strides pacing conversations as they pass away. Sometimes they wave.

Right now, I’m doing the same: sitting under my favorite tree on campus, looking at the brick buildings strapped to the ground, the drunken sky a whirl of cirrus and cumulous flooding the blue above.  It’s summer and the quad is quiet and still–almost deserted. The buildings slumber, their windows dark, their doors closed.

Normally I feel lonesome in the slow trickle of strangers and the empty hours before me. I do today. But something deeper always opens in such moments, as if it requires the sun-laced stillness of an empty afternoon.

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Brokenness and Healing

I’ve been home from Egypt for about one and a half weeks. I’ve been busy setting

A few of my students in Egypt

seeing friends and family, prodded with requests for stories. “What were the pyramids like?” they ask. Or, “Did you see the Sphinx?”

I’ve also been reading The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus and organizing loans and finances to prepare for my final year at college. Soon, I’ll be moving into campus housing, seeing old friends, and attending classes as if nothing happened.

But the transition to “reality” has been hard.

My third night home, my dad and I went out for a hot fudge sunday at a place nearby–an irregular tradition for past few years. As I ate my ice cream, the other customers walked up, laughing and buying their cones.

To me, they felt unreal. I couldn’t take my mind from the students I had taught in Egypt. Some had lost friends and family to religious violence. All had endured the throes of violent political change the past year. For some of them, justice was a truth worth dying for. Then, my thoughts turned to Libya and Syria, torn by their own violence, like the hundreds killed in the recent attack at Tremseh.

It hurt to know that a month and a half ago, I was just an oblivious American eating ice cream, too.

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