24th January 2013
Event and Poem Analysis
We, as humans, must learn to overcome certain obstacles and boundaries that life places before us as seen by the works of Robert Frost in his poem Mending Wall, Jill McDonough in Accident, Mass. Ave, Learning to Read by Frances E.WW Harper, or The Service of Faith and Promotion of Justice in Jesuit Higher Education by Peter-Hans Kolvenbach. Every day we will face challenges that strive to put us down, but it is those very challenges that we must overcome in order to become better humans. If we do not take the time to address our personal problems, or simply give up whenever life becomes difficult then we would never progress as individuals or as a society.
Robert Frost’s Mending Wall is the story of neighbors separated by a wall; the speaker sees no need for the wall but his neighbor believes it is what makes for good neighbors. This poem addresses the issue of boundaries established between human beings; sometimes for no apparent reason. In order for humans to truly become “good neighbors”, we must break down these boundaries and interact with one another. The second poem, titled Accident, Mass Ave. written by Jill McDonough recalls a confrontation between two women in Boston who get involved in what appears to be a semi-serious car accident, yelling and screaming at each other until in the midst of their screaming, realize there was no damage done to either car and there was no reason for them to be angry. This poem demo5nstrates how quick human beings jump to rash conclusions without stopping to think and analyze the matter at hand. The third poem, titled Learning to Read by Frances E. W. Harper, is written through the point of view of a Slave in the South and discusses their desire to learn to read and become educated from the Yankee teachers in school. Their masters, however, would hide any books from them. The Slaves were motivated to overcome their oppression and become educated. This poem can serve as a source of inspiration to follow your dreams and ambitions and not to let any obstacle stop you in your path.
The final reading was by Peter-Hans Kolvenbach titled The Service of Faith and Promotion of Justice in Jesuit Higher Education concerns the matter of faith and justice held within the Jesuit institutions today, namely the “service of faith, and the promotion of justice”. The main message I received from this reading was the need to better the human race by first bettering ourselves which I believe serves as the central theme I have gathered from all four readings as well as from my meditation session on Tuesday, January 22nd. Zen Meditation was something new to me so I was not sure what to expect walking in to Fava Chapel. There was a truly unmistakable level of sacredness and respect towards tradition that overwhelmed me throughout the hour and a half long session. Emphasizing the power that becoming at peace with our body, our emotions, and our spirit can have on our lives and lead us towards inner peace and happiness. Sitting still in our proper meditation poses for fifteen minutes, in thought, seemed very easy; but in actuality was much more difficult and challenging than I expected. Sitting in complete stillness and silence letting our minds focus on nothing more than our breathing made it seem as if nothing existed in the world besides the number of breaths we were taking. By practicing meditation, we are able to experience true relaxation of the mind, body, spirit, and emotions.
All four readings concerned problems within the human race; whether it be the boundaries between us as seen in Mending Wall, our overreactions and quickness to form conclusions as addressed in Accident, Mass. Ave, or the obstacles we have to overcome notably shown in Learning to Read. The importance of self-evaluation in times of conflict with another cannot be addressed lightly. We must learn to overcome our conflicts in a wise manner and from there become better human beings in the process.