Opinion

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    My Last Two Bits: Reflections on 2013-14

    With summer just around the bend, we are all working hard (or are we hardly working?) to finish out this semester as successfully as possible. Finals will soon be over and we will all head out on our next adventures. But we will not go without any reflections on this school year and the memories that we have made. Personally speaking, this has been an interesting year for your friendly neighborhood Opinions Editor. First, I was given an official beat on the website for “The Crescent”. Although we had a website last year and I was allowed to write for it if I wanted to, making it official made me schedule proper time to write articles.  I had deadlines and responsibilities, either a writer’s greatest enemy or his best friend. Writing for online publication is a whole new world.  I do not have to worry about writing too much for lack of space.  I can write a 700+ word article and almost no one will bat an eye! Then, there is the fact that gifs and videos can be attached to articles.  Being able to use these not only makes the article a more interesting read, but also even more fun for me to create. Not to say that I dislike our print edition; I love it. It brings me so much joy to walk around campus and to see people with a copy. I get to look at it and say, “Hey, I helped make that.” Then I started offending people. Now, I want it to be perfectly clear: The things I have written have not been for the purpose of being offensive to people.  I write what I think and as an editorial writer that is completely within my rights. For example, I once wrote an article criticizing ASC (you can read that here).  I am not sorry for the things I wrote and I stand by what I said. “The Crescent” is supposed to be the voice of the students and ideas are like ants (if you see one, there are more around): If one person is writing about something, then a multitude of others are having the same thought. On the bright side, it is nice to know that ASC actually reads our articles. This year’s conference in San Diego was great. I learned quite a bit from the conference itself, there were quite a few very good speakers.  I learned about interviewing and blogging and interesting things about newspaper design.  All valuable things. Even more important, though, were the people. It is always a nice experience to meet other college journalists and to swap stories from the office or interesting ideas.  Professionally, I am told that is called networking. The trip also really helped with getting to know some of the other people I work with.  This year, our faculty advisor, Melanie Mock, accompanied us.  She is a wonderful person and it was great to have her come with us (And I am not just saying that because she has to read this before it gets published). Overall, it has been my great pleasure and honor to be the opinions editor for the second year.  I tried to do my best to write articles that entertained (like this one) and articles aimed at fighting the crippling apathy that plagues our campus.  I have thoroughly enjoyed working the other people on this staff and I hope I get to work with them again soon. For those who I will not have that opportunity with, I wish them well and hope they are going on to bigger and better things (you know who you are). And to the readers: thanks for reading.  For now, that’s all folks! -Levi Bowers, Your Friendly Neighborhood Opinions Editor
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    Our Stories Never End

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    April 28, 2014
    Today is bittersweet. With the last of my official classes and finals quick approaching, the reality of the end is beginning to sink in. As sad as I am that things are ending, I can not help but reflect on how blessed I have been this year, not just by coming to George Fox in general, but also by being able to be part of such an amazing staff. It is not often that people get to do what they love with so many others who share the same passion. For that I am grateful. The biggest blessing of my Crescent experience was being able to write these beats. Focusing my beats on the ways God has been and is moving on campus was so encouraging to me. I loved the chance to meet with people for interviews. These interviews have felt much less like actual interviews, and more like my spirit being filled with passion as people like Kelly, Joanna, and Miranda shared their stories. By the end of the semester, I was looking forward to writing these every week. They did not feel like a burden I had to accomplish. They were an encouragement to hear about, to write about, and my hope is that they were an encouragement to read. It was cool to be reminded, through these beats, of the power of stories and the power of God. They reminded me why I love editing, why I love writing, and I hope they reminded others why they loved Jesus. In the midst of the chaos of school, and in the midst of the change that comes with the end of the year, I hope that people take the time to remind themselves that God is writing the story of our lives every day, in every way.

    The Conclusion

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    April 25, 2014
    As with all good stories, there is a conclusion. In whichever journey we’re on at the time, there are varying perspectives that shift as we go along. We see the story progress and often learn the moral as we look back. Coming to this place has been no different. It’s cool to remember the different viewpoints along the way. “Wow, I’m really gonna go there,” I thought to myself as I gazed out the window before Genesis. From there, it’s been a panorama and collage of images and experiences, from moving in where I didn’t know anyone, to tearing up leaving my friends for the summer. Places look so different as you experience them differently.  Soon I’ll see our house stripped bare to start over again with a new batch of students.  It’s served its purpose. As I’ve said before, moments are like sunsets—slowly, but constantly changing—that create new scenes and stages for us to act on.  As the clouds shift and our scenery changes, we are thankful for the art that has come, is here now, and will be. Enjoy the different perspectives and angles of your life. I’ve enjoyed sharing my thoughts here. I will never stop pondering the meaning of these unique moments we are given.  As I continue searching for the extraordinary meaning within the ordinary, I pray that you do, too.

    Why I Wrote About Mythology

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    April 21, 2014
    Mythology is probably a strange topic for what these beats are. It does not exactly go with themes we see at college nor does it really describe college life. I chose the topic of mythology for a reason, though. I believe in investing in what you are passionate about. As college students we do take classes for our majors and we have the chances to indulge in what we are passionate about, so I wanted to do that for myself and maybe see if others are passionate about it as well. I am a firm believer that mythology is important and can teach us about who we are as people and as individuals. Plus I am really passionate about the topic. By reading mythology, we can learn about what people thought in the past. Through reading Norse mythology and folktales I have gained a lot of knowledge about the people that were my ancestors hundreds of years ago, from when the documentation of my family history declines and I know very little. Mythology has filled in a few gaps. I also have learned more about other cultures’ histories through myths. There is so much you can learn from myths and I wanted to share a little bit of that over the last few weeks. The stories we have today that we tell on TV or the Internet could one day become the myths of our culture. They will not be passed down in the same way, but they can still be used to show what kind of society we were and what we valued. It is strange to think of that future, but who we are could be turned into some sort of myth and I want the people of the future to be well informed and learn as much as they can from the myths just as I have learned a lot from the myths I have read. Thank you, and I hope you have enjoyed my writing on what I think of mythology.

    A Snake in the Prayer Chapel?

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    April 21, 2014
    There was a tapping at the prayer chapel door today as if someone was about to come in. I ignored it after a while, but opening the door to leave, I saw a snake had been stuck there. As I stared in shock and disgust, it writhed in place for a while then slithered back into the bushes. If only the attacks on our walk with God repulsed us more. Sin often creeps up on us and weasels its way through the doors of our hearts. If we could recognize the vileness that it is, maybe we would expel it sooner. Today, the snake I set free was my attitude toward God. I decided to repent of putting myself in a higher position than God. I had wanted Him to work around my life, instead of working mine around His. I’ve learned I’m pretty weak when I work from my own strength. So much fear comes from believing I’m the one controlling my life.  I need to connect with God regularly to get my strength and purpose from Him. We submit to God, not the other way around. We must invite Him to transform us and steward our lives. We can trust His power and goodwill for us. The world tells us we should look out for ourselves. But God transforms us to be motivated by righteousness we cannot attain on our own. Like a snake, my mentality disgusted me and was thrown out. What are some snakes you want to throw out?

    The Myth of Bigfoot

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    April 17, 2014
    Living in Washington, I was aware that I was in the rumored home of Bigfoot. Specifically I was not, though, since I lived on a hill overlooking a valley south of Seattle and was cornered by two highways. There was no way Bigfoot would be found anywhere near my home. I had heard the rumors and stories though. As a child, I went on hikes in the mountains with my family. My siblings and I would joke about what was beyond the trail or outside our camping trailer. I have never been to the Olympic region of Washington where I believe Bigfoot is probably more likely to live. Despite this, the myth lives. I grew up familiar with the tape and conspiracies surrounding Bigfoot. There was more than one instance where people had pretended to be the beast and the incident where someone chopped up an animal and dressed it up like Bigfoot and put it in a freezer. The fact that that made it onto the news says something: about what the news or about the people who did it, I’m not so sure. Even though many theories of Bigfoot roaming the lands have been said to lack evidence or substance, the myth lives on. People are still on the lookout for him. Some people take it more seriously than others, and from this has spurned a TV show about people on the lookout for poor Bigfoot. Bigfoot has been a part of culture for longer than we may guess. The idea and name of the Bigfoot we know today originated in the 50’s. Before then the idea of hairy wild men was prevalent. The actual first written account of big hairy men in America was documented by Leif Erikson; of course this was not near the Pacific Northwest. Native American Tribes in certain areas across America also had myths of big, hairy creatures and had reported sightings up to the mid-20th century. Bigfoot has made a long journey from being mentioned all over the world and has been narrowed down to America and into the mountains on both coasts. This is partly because of the building of cities which would have driven the hairy beast into the wilderness. There is no mass acceptance that Bigfoot is real, but that are those that believe that he roams away from society, away from people, probably wishing he could return to a time of owning the land where the city man was not there. If you would like further reading and so see where I got some of my info, look here: http://www.bigfoot-lives.com/html/bigfoot_history.html http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2013/05/the-origin-of-the-bigfoot-legend/ http://www.discoveryuk.com/web/finding-bigfoot/about-the-show/the-legend-of-bigfoot/  

    Little Myths

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    April 17, 2014
    The sunny days we are experiencing now remind me of when I was young. I spent those days in my backyard coming up with stories. I would play with myself or I would play with a friend. I came up with all different kinds of myths. I created new worlds with fairies and monsters. There were elves and dwarfs and I was the all-powerful conqueror. I did not realize until recently how my childhood had been influenced by myths. Some myths were passed down: I believed in Santa Clause, I liked to pretend that their were fairies around me or that my stuffed animals were alive or that my dolls could move around. I also had heard stories from my family; I knew about the gods in Greek mythology at a young age and I was also introduced to Norwegian folktales too. I had also read of Narnia and wanted to go there more than anything. My childhood, looking back, seems to be filled with myths. This is not a bad thing at all. I was a still a Christian. I went to Christian school and church and had committed myself to Christ, but I kept on living a rather magical, mythological life in my backyard. Having all the stories in my mind has carried over to the present day where I look around and have a flash of what I would have thought of things as when I was a child. I knew that the myths and stories in my mind were not real. That did not stop me though. I kept on coming up with stories. Once I came up with a whole world that had gods and creatures and I drew them out in my notebook. I was just being creative and pretending. The stories did not lead me astray, they made life more exciting. Now I wonder what the danger would be of adding a little more myth to my life. My rational side takes over sometimes and I wonder if doing that would hurt my faith, but then again, stories can show us truth. I do not know what to do, but on sunny days I am tempted to take a journal outside into the sun and create a world filled with mythological creatures. I did it when I was younger, why shouldn’t I now?

    The Bells Toll

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    April 17, 2014
    There have been a few articles on GFU’s clock tower this year.  As a commuter, I only have the pleasure of hearing the clock tower’s bells while I am on campus.  I never noticed the bells until this past November while sitting in Hebrew with Professor Brian Doak, who briefly complained about the bells going off during class.  However, I now hear them all over campus unless I am working in the Academic Resource Center. I look forward to hymns floating across campus, bouncing off brick walls, and filling my soul.  There is something refreshing about worship melodies playing at odd times for students as we flitter to and fro. Each time the bells chime in reverence, I am reminded of why I am here. I am reminded of who brought me to George Fox. And I am reminded that I should be praising Him with every step, every breath, and every move I make. I don’t know all the lyrics to each hymn the bells play; however, I do take the time to thank God for all He has blessed me with.  To be honest, this semester has been challenging both academically and emotionally.  I have stepped onto the quad with tears ready to fall and then I hear “How Great Thou Art” ring out.  In those moments, peace enters and the tears become cleansing instead of sorrowful. Each clang of the bell carries a loving embrace and a gracious whisper. You may see me walking with my head bowed as “The Old Rugged Cross” streams on the wind or talking out loud to seemingly no one as “I Stand Amazed” plays. I look forward to the joyful noise each day. I acknowledge I don’t have to hear the bells all day and night; I do live in a neighborhood in which kids scream bloody murder at all hours and no one observes quiet time. At home, I am yelling at kids to stop banging into my house or growing annoyed at the lack of involvement from their parents. But on campus, the hymns pour into me and I am filled with gladness. The bells toll for each of us. Maybe a song inspires your next paper or maybe a song provides a moment of reflection.  Regardless, I would encourage each of us to take a few minutes to join in worship as the bells echo across our campus.

    The Reality We Just Don’t Want to Face

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    April 15, 2014
    Guest Contribution by Mailie Landreth Imagine this: you and your family are desperately trying to make ends meet, to get the bills paid, to put food in everyone’s stomachs, to keep a roof over your head. Some of you may understand exactly what I’m talking about. You need money – and fast. So imagine a stranger, or perhaps even someone you know, walking up to you and offering you a job. “Come with me,” they say, “you can work in the city and send money back home.” What a blessing! You pack your things, bid your family goodbye for now, and take off to explore your exciting new opportunity. At last, your problems are solved. And then that person, your savior, takes you to this strange new place, and without warning you are sold like cattle into what is called modern-day slavery. In other words, human trafficking. You are officially someone’s property now. From now on, you have no right to think, speak, or even breathe without your trafficker’s permission. They decide what and when you get to eat, what you can wear, when and how long you can sleep, and whether or not you get to use the bathroom by yourself. They tell you how much you’re worth or not worth. They control you. Your hopes for a job opportunity and having a better life are crushed, and you have entered a whole different kind of nightmare. Not enough? Imagine this happening to a cherished person in your life. Do any of you have children? Brothers? Sisters? Nieces and nephews? Cousins? A best friend? What if one day they were stolen away from you, subject to rape, torture, disease, or even murder? Most likely you’ll never see this person again. I have a little sister. She’s 9 years old. She’s smart, witty, strong, adorable. And she is the perfect target for a human trafficker. Knowing this makes my stomach turn. With our age difference, she’s almost like a daughter to me, and I find myself annoying her with my overprotective nature: “Hold my hand, you can’t go anywhere alone!” She often complains I hold her hand too tightly everywhere we go. But I’m scared of what could happen to her if I let her go. That is why human trafficking matters to me, and why it should matter to you, too. I know many people who would rather live in their little bubble of a world and think everything is fine, or that human trafficking is unfathomable in America (“no, that only happens in Cambodia or China or North Korea!”). Sorry to say it, but human trafficking is very real and it’s very dangerous. And it exists everywhere. Not just in Asia or Africa, worlds away. Here, too. I was in high school when I first started hearing about the problem. My father and I used to watch “America’s Most Wanted,” and that’s when they began airing episodes specifically on human trafficking. I don’t remember where this particular story took place, but the survivor who told it was a teenager when she was victimized. She was approached by a mature, professional, beautiful woman who offered her a great job. The girl’s parents thought it sounded sketchy, but she went anyway. That’s when she was taken far away from her home, raped, and groomed into prostitution along with many other girls. Whenever someone tried to escape, several men would catch her, beat her, and rape her as punishment. But this particular young woman managed to get away, and she was brave enough to tell her story. I’m 21 years old now, and I’ve never forgotten that wretched moment when I was watching “America’s Most Wanted,” wanting to do something to end all the suffering. I don’t think it’s possible to truly end this epidemic of modern-day slavery, but we can still do something about it. With that, I’m going to share some statistics (beware, statistics are a tricky thing on this issue but these are the best I found) that I included in a recent research portfolio I turned in based on human trafficking. Think about it. When UN.GIFT published Human Trafficking: The Facts, approximately 2.5 million people were in the human trafficking industry, either victims of forced labor or sexual exploitation. Statistics show that the majority of human trafficking takes place in Asia and the Pacific (about 56%). The problem of trafficking involves 161 countries so far, whether making them a source, transit, or destination country. Every continent and every type of economy is affected. Each year, $31.6 billion is made from human trafficking. Other statistics show that a significant amount of victims are between the ages of 18 and 24; 1.2 million children are sold annually. Of the victims sold, 43% are used for sex (98% of them are females) and 32% are used for forced labor (56% are females). An estimated 95% of them are put through physical and/or sexual abuse. 52% of the traffickers are men, while 42% are women; nearly half of them are people that human trafficking victims know. As of 2006, only one person is actually convicted for every 800 people trafficked….

    Enjoy the Spring Push

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    April 14, 2014
    The final four weeks of spring term have begun.  Thankfully, I only have one more major project due in the next four weeks; however, some of my fellow students have more. I hear dread in their voices, see stress in their bent frames, and worry in their tired eyes.  My heart goes out to them. Seniors are juggling many tasks as graduation grows closer.  Juniors going abroad are making sure they have everything ready to go while those not going prepare for their final year.  Sophomores are meeting with advisors to make sure they register for upper division classes for their major.  Freshman are experiencing the spring push for the first time.  Professors remind students of deadlines and penalties for incomplete work.  And, unfortunately, some professors will be packing up their offices and moving on. Even with all these things GFU buzzes with new energy.  Students will soon be laying on the grass reading books.  The SUB will be crowded with students meeting for the group projects.  The ARC will be busy meeting with students who want to strengthen their papers.  Commuters will be staying on campus longer in order to make sure they are prepared for class. Final art projects will grace the campus bringing smiles to those who take a brief minute to stop and reflect.  Vocalists will be heard across the quad as their divine voices carry from the top windows of Ross.  Squirrels will soon be scolding students for daring to walk off the path. Trees will blossom and flowers will bloom. Time will slow down just long enough to forget the stress of final papers, presentations, and the million other things students have to do. So I encourage you to stop, breathe, and listen.  Take the time capture precious moments with friends or start reading a book for fun. Take time to amply prepare for upcoming final projects and finals; but also take time to admire a flowering tree.  Make sure to send thank you letters to professors, fellow students, and staff.  Bring goodies for the fabulous staff of the Den, Bruin Bites, and Bon. With the end of the semester approaching, promise to enjoy the final push, the sunny days, each professor’s class. Make memories with new friends, celebrate with family, talk with squirrels, and thank everyone who has impacted you during the year.  These moments will never come again.

    Fluidity of Grief

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    April 3, 2014
    She waits for the twins’ parents to pick up to see if they were back from their ski trip. “Hello?” “Hi, this is Katie.” “Katie, this is Jen’s mom.  How are you doing?” Katie shares how the recent move to Highland Park has gone before asking if the twins were around. “But how are you really doing?” The twin’s mom ask. Katie pauses not sure what she was asking. Silence. A few seconds later she hears Jen’s mom tell someone, “I don’t want to tell her.” “Did something happen to Jen or Gwen?”  Katie asks earnestly. “Oh Katie . . . Chris died.” The room immediately descends into darkness.  Katie’s heart stops.  Panic shoots through every fiber, muscle, and thought.  Katie crumbles to her knees, trying to catch her breath and stop the world from disintegrating. Kathi, Katie’s mom, hears her struggling to inhale air and rushes out of the bathroom, barely dry from a shower. “Katie . . . what’s wrong?” Katie shakes but does not answer.  Her mom carefully takes the phone out of Katie’s hand and lifts the ivory handset to her ear. Drip. Drip. Drip. Katie only hears the sound of water from Kathi’s wet hair crashing to the hardwood floor. “Chris can’t be dead.  No way is he gone.  It is impossible!” Katie’s refuses to accept the news.  Her heart would never accept his death. Chris, Katie’s first love, died on New Year’s Day 1996 of alcohol poisoning.  They met at The Crossing, a youth group, in a suburb northwest of Chicago.  They had two years of adventures, teenage angst, and unconditional love. Before Christmas, Katie gives Chris a brand new Walkman and headphones; the one he carries with him is held together by rubber bands and tape. “I still remember his smile when he opened my gift.  He wasn’t expecting it,” Katie recalls almost 20 years later, “He told me it was his favorite thing ever.” Classmates, friends, family, teachers, and church members fill every available seat at the memorial service. Those who attended the church service just one week prior could not ignore the odd words spoken by the pastor that day; “We have been blessed that for the past 10 years we have not suffered any losses.”   And then the youth group find themselves there – saying good-bye to a 17-year-old friend – and Katie’s love. Before the memorial service starts, mourners step into a small room to view the body.  Katie walks into the viewing line with her mom.  Previous experience the year before, at her grandmother’s funeral, taught her Chris would not look the same as the last night Katie saw him. Kathi asks her, “Katie, do you want me to go with you?” Katie responds with a quiet, “no.” As she inches closer to the casket, Katie looks for an excuse to walk away.  But before she can formulate a workable lie, she finds herself in front of the polished wooden box. Chris is dressed in a blue denim button down shirt with a single breast pocket and dark jeans.  His hair is styled as if he had just rolled out of bed.  His face no longer holds the same symmetry Katie loved to drown in.  Her heart stops.  She feels weak. “I am not sure where the strength came from,” Katie says to me, “As I stepped up to his coffin, I noticed his hacky sack, letters from friends surrounding him, and in his breast pocket the Walkman I had given him.  The headset on his head as he so enjoyed listening to his music. I will never forget feeling a brief moment of happiness before reality knocked me around again.” When the memorial begins, Katie makes her way to the front row.  She sits next to Brian, Chris’s best friend.  The room grows quiet as the closed casket is wheeled to the front of the church.  Brian grabs Katie’s hand and squeezes.  A simple heartbreaking gesture cements Brian as Katie’s best friend in this moment of loss. The Crossing’s youth leader asks Katie to write and share a prayer for friends and family left behind: “Lord, we thank you for loving us and being present with us today.  I am filled with joy knowing that you are ready to comfort all who are suffering at this time.  I pray that you are glorified and that we see your sovereignty through this dark period in our lives.” After the funeral, Katie and Brian grow closer.  Grief melts two broken hearts into a bond of family.  Nothing will break them. “Since it happened we spent more time together; up until she moved,” Brian says, “I consider Katie one of my closest friends even though I don’t see her often.  We can tell each other anything. Sometimes losing someone close to both parties will help bring them closer together.  I know it affects her life all the time as it does mine.” Brian visits Chris’s grave twice a year (on New Year’s Day and Chris’s birthday), has Chris’s bracelet hanging from his rearview mirror, and talks to Chris every day.  When I ask him how he feels about God, Brian says, “The sad part of it is I don’t trust God nearly as much, and even question God’s existence at times in my life.” Katie has grown closer to God since Chris’s death.  “God has always been a foundation in my life.  I believe I will see Chris in Heaven when I die, and I can’t wait to hold my friend again,” she says. Eighteen years pass and Katie still aches for Chris. Katie is planning on tattooing the coordinates of Chris’s grave and a compass pointing north towards heaven on her arm in remembrance.  Whenever she visits Chicago, she goes to his grave and talks to him as if he is sitting across from her smiling. But after she returns home, the damage of his loss stays with her for weeks. Ecclesiastics 3:4 tells us there is “a time to mourn” but fails to communicate the fluidity of grief as life goes on.  When someone we love dies, we are told time heals all wounds, but this is far from true.  The wound remains, the loss is ever present, but we learn to keep moving forward. The truth is grief haunts most of us longer than society deems acceptable.  We move through our day without thinking of our lost one; but unexpectedly, the smell of sweet pipe tobacco delights our nose or a small laugh catches our ears reminding us of what is gone.  The wounds never fully heal until we pass. Revelation 21:4 promises once we are in Heaven, God “will wipe every tear from our [their] eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  Grief is not a linear journey.  Instead grief circles, dips, peaks, and dives as we attempt to move forward without our loved ones. Katie has pictures of Chris in her bedroom, on her car visor, and in her cubicle at work.  She hangs onto the Christmas card Chris gave her the last day she saw him.  She hands me a worn folded letter for Chris that she wrote four days after his death safely tucked away: “Dear Chris.  Words cannot describe the pain that I am feeling right now.  It still feels like it’s all one big practical joke or movie or something . . . I know God must have wanted you with him really bad to let this happen.  At one point I thought he was being selfish but hey, if I was God, I’d take you now too . . . I loved you, I still love you and I will love you forever. In Christ’s love, Katie” Katie’s grief is indefinite. She is intentional in her determination to not let go of the person she loved. There is no break or end from the pain of loss or the desperate longing to hold Chris again.  Society encourages moving past our grief, but if we yearn for Christ what is wrong with yearning to be reunited with a loved one? When the heaviness becomes too much, Katie writes poems to channel her sorrow.  In one poem titled “If Ever” she writes, “If ever a dream world existed/I would take up permanent residence/only to see your face again.”  A sweet broken game of “what if plays” out in her poetry. As each New Year’s Day passes, I witness Katie draw into herself.  Her eyes grow heavy.  Her smile shrinks.  Grief comes out of hiding to steal a piece of my sister away into the darkness. My heart breaks as I watch her relive her last days with Chris, including his funeral.  Over the last decade I spend New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day with Katie but I never ask her what she experienced. When Chris died, Katie lived with me.  I worked 60 hours a week and on my 2 days off, I traveled downtown to Chicago to attend school for 12 hours a day.  While we shared the same apartment, we lived two separate lives.  Neither one made the effort to include the other. My only memory of Chris’s death is Katie not coming with my mom and me to see the Broadway play Grease.  When we bought the tickets, Katie asked our mother, Kathi, if she could buy a new dress.  Our mother said yes.  The dress was black.  Unfortunately, Katie wore the dress to a funeral instead of a musical. I feel guilt and shame for taking so long to learn about Chris and my sister’s last days with him.  I realize now my guilt and shame kept me at a safe distance from her grief.  When I shared this with Katie recently, she told me we had gotten into a fight after his death. “You told me to get over his death.” “I did what?  No way!”  But even as I respond in disbelief, I feel the veil lift from my eyes.  I’d blocked those words from my memory. “I am not mad at you.  You were running on empty and as time passed, I knew you did not mean it.” Katie’s graciousness guts me.  For years I made sure to stay out of her grief.  I never asked for more of her story.  And now, as she reveals the freshness of a wound that will never heal, I am drawn into her grief.  My heart breaks to know I added to her heartache. As Katie shares the first moments of Chris’s funeral with intense clarity, I witnessed her frame slump forward.  However, as she continues, I see a flash of light behind her eyes.  The more Katie speaks of Chris and their relationship, the more the light radiates her cherub face. “I have tried to bargain with God,” she chuckles, “I still do.” “I did not hug him goodbye the last time I saw him,” she pauses “It is my biggest regret.  I hug people now.  All the time!” As I hand the folded letter she wrote to Chris back, she reaches out to grab her tangible feelings.  Her hands carefully cradled the letter. “How odd!  I am feeling everything I wrote in this letter right now.  This will never end,” Katie whispers, “The circle keeps going.”          “Grief never ends but instead changes.  It is not for you to say but pass through (at your own pace).  Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith but instead it is the price of love.” Author Unknown.   Chained Eternal by Katie Harney © 07-13-2006 Will he ever get out of my head? This muse of past days, the thorn that brings pleasurable pain… Reckless and heavy, calming and full of torment – a double-edged sword, bringing salted wounds to my bland being. Will he ever release his hold? This titan of bygone love, piercing and tearing my soul in compassion… Suffered and broken, wickedly serene in all his aching glory; I cannot but utterly love him for it. Dark hair in streams, choking the memories of youth. Tear-singed eyes ablaze, beaming rivers of absolute adoration. Bellows of smoke clouding the images, inhaling the innocence in silent mercy. Ah! The taste of him is sweet as he lays dead in time gone by!