The Respect of All
The literary pieces “Mending Wall” by Robert Frost, “Accident, Mass. Ave.” by Jill McDonough, “Learning to Read” by Frances E. Harper and “The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice in American Jesuit Higher Education” by Peter-Hans Kolvenbach all focus on the central idea of respecting all people and promoting betterment of self and others. Each of these poems focus on a different aspect to human interaction and respect to each other. The first poem “Mending Wall” is about the honesty of neighbors and respect of space and understanding. “Accident, Mass. Ave.” centers around forgiveness, patience and again understanding. Harper’s “Learning to Read” is about accepting help and the want for betterment of self and others. Lastly Kolvenbach ties all these ideas together by clarifying the mission of Jesuit in the setting of higher education. During Zen meditation, I was able to discern upon the meaning in these poems and essay and how it related to the mission statement here at Loyola.
Robert Frost wrote a beautiful poem about every spring he and his neighbor go out and mend the wall that divides their two properties. Frost asks the neighbor why it is so necessary to do so for the do not have cattle, and the neighbor simply responds, “Good fences make good neighbors” (Frost, ln 27). This reminded me of the saying locks keep honest people honest. In the poem, the neighbor is not concerned with Frost’s breach of property lines but the idea of space and boundaries are important to him. In the Jesuit way of thinking one is called to both put oneself in a difficult position in others lives in order to help them but also to respect their wishes. Kolvenbach stresses the importance of Jesuits calling to promote justice.
McDonough’s poem I found quiet comical because it is the over reaction of a woman in a car accident simply to protect herself. In the poem two woman get into a small ‘fender bender’ accident but both woman both extremely overreact by swearing, screaming and threatening. In Boston, Mass that is the way but the narrator soon realizes that there is no real damage to her car, she asks the other if she was okay and then comforts her with forgiveness. While I meditated on this poem I wanted to laugh because it reminded me of how I can get dramatic and hot headed but again the Jesuits call us to be understanding, forgiving and apologetic when in the wrong.
Lastly “Learning to Read” is about the betterment of oneself and becoming a well-rounded, independent person. In the poem Harper wishes to read even though she is old and people tell her there is no point. Kolvenbach did not title his paper “The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice in American Jesuit Colleges and Universities” rather he uses the term Higher Education. I found this interesting because in reality one never stops learning so in a sense we never graduate from higher education. Harper learning to read is something that one does as a child but she wants to better herself and this is how she chooses to do it.
In all these poems justice is tested and served but always served. During meditation I focused how fortunate I was and how I could serve and promote justice in others. Going to a school of Jesuit high education serves a crucial role in my view on the importance of justice and becoming a better, more well-rounded person.