The horrible, rotten, no good, very bad day

This week, I dealt with an irate parent because his daughter’s car was towed from our lot.  I don’t like towing cars from our lot, but because of our proximity to campus and 2 very large sororities, abuses happen regularly.   His rant and veiled threats got me to thinking about other students and parents who have experienced bad days while in school.  I wish I would have said something along these lines:

Your daughter made a mistake.  She bypassed multiple “no parking” signs, and pulled in to a spot marked “reserved.”  She disregarded the direction of her sorority leaders who said not to park in the lot.  Maybe a friend said it was ok, that she could get away with it.  Even really smart kids make dumb mistakes sometimes.  If this is the worst thing that she- and you- have to deal with in your time at the university, consider yourself fortunate.  Yes, it disrupted her schedule and your wallet.  It the big picture, it was an inconvenience at best.  You, and she, are lucky indeed that this is a mistake that does not hold lasting consequences.

Here are some situations that constitute a horrible, rotten, no good, very bad day:

-If I meet you in the ICU, that is a bad day.

-If your daughter has to make the decision “abortion” or “adoption,” that is a bad day.

-If you are learning the rape statutes in Arkansas, and the reporting procedures related to rape or sexual assault, that is a bad day.

-If I call you to say that your daughter needs help immediately because she is exhibiting signs of harming herself, that is a bad day.

-If your daughter attempts suicide, that is a bad day.

-If you daughter is sleeping in her car because her living situation is unsafe, but she is too embarrassed or afraid to tell anyone, that is a bad day.

-If your daughter has a complete breakdown, and is diagnosed with one of the several mental disorders that can occur in the 18-22 yr old range, that is a bad day.

-If your daughter finally feels safe enough to confide that she was raped or molested years ago, and you are searching out counseling opportunities on campus to help her heal, that is a day to celebrate, but it still counts as a bad day.

Let’s gain some perspective.  This was a mistake, and mistakes quite often carry consequences, but this one does not rise to the level of a “horrible, rotten, no good, very bad day.”  I really do hope you can count this as her worst experiences in college.

Even if I had been able to say all that, I don’t think you would have listened.  You weren’t really interested in listening to the other side of the story.  I think I just needed to remind myself what really constituted a “bad day.”

If you or a friend is in need of help, for abuse, rape, or sexual assault, or needs counseling, the U of A offers excellent services through the Pat Walker Health Clinic, http://health.uark.edu/352.php.  Or, you may contact your Campus Minister, who will listen to your story and help you navigate the resources you might  need.  Please note, other  than pregnancy, all the issues I mentioned above affect young men, too.  I just chose to address everything from the female perspective.

Sincerely,

A  Campus Minister

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Telling stories

“I have also come to believe that the stories we tell, sharing our own experiences and the experiences of others who have had an impact on us, matter a great deal.” -David LaMotte, Worldchanging 101, preface xiv

I feel like a lot of people need proof and reassurance in the things that people tell them  (and) try to show them.  Through stories and experience, it gives them that willingness to trust the other person. -JW, UCM Student

Steve Jobs on changing the world

Today’s post is taken from a speech by Steve Jobs:

Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes…The ones who see things differently- they’re not fond of rules…You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things…They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Try, try again

Where is the god who can compare with you- wiping the slate clean of guilt, turning a blind eye, a deaf ear, to the past sins of your purged and precious people?  You don’t nurse your anger and don’t stay angry long, for mercy is your specialty.  That’s what you love most.  And compassion is on its way to us.  You’ll stamp out our wrongdoing.  You’ll sink our sins to the bottom of the ocean.  -Micah 7: 18-19, The Message

Any one else stumbling in their Lenten practices?  We are two weeks in, 4 1/2 weeks to go until Easter.  Has anyone given up yet?  I am doing ok on my “personal” Lenten “sacrifice” of giving up T.V. in the evening.  It’s actually nice to have a quiet house as we read or play games.  But, I have fallen apart posting on the blog for UCM.  I blame it on “snow brain” as we finish up one storm and now are heading in to another.  Life is like that sometimes.  We fall apart in the midst of the “storms of life” and things we promised ourselves that we would do for God (pray, read the Bible, worship, do good works, etc) get left in the dust as we cope with whatever we are facing.  Friends, hear the Good News!  Our God, who loves us and is merciful to us, will forgive us our sins, and our Lenten slip ups!  Don’t give up!  If you have fallen away from your Lenten practices, forgive yourself, and start again.  It’s ok.  God knows we mess up, forget, and sometimes just fall apart.  Guess what?  God loves us anyway.  God wants a relationship with us, so remember that as you continue to pursue your Lenten spiritual practices and disciplines. Wipe your slate clean of guilt; you are God’s precious child.  -Susan