Tag Archives: peace

Women, we deserve more. 

 

In our uncertain and tense time in America right now, we seem to be under attack in every aspect of our lives, and one primary group under attack is women.

Today feminism is rising at an exponentially fast rate—if you aren’t a feminist, you are wrong—allegedly. I, however, disagree with the popular feminist agenda, not because I’m anti-woman or even anti-feminism, but because I don’t think it’s good enough. I think it brings woman down to a lower level of dignity, instead of elevating us to be the best version of ourselves.

In the past few weeks I have seen who the heroes of womanhood are portrayed to be, and I have to say it’s completely unacceptable. We have people like Amy Schumer, who can’t go two sentences without saying something vulgar, we have woman like Lady Gaga, who dressed up like a Nazi at a political rally, and we have people like Lena Dunham, who bragged in her memoir about molesting her little sister, and who made a video with her father supporting the extinction of straight white men. Seriously? These women are supposed to embody the feminist movement? I don’t think so. The sad thing is, we expect this from Hollywood because it is an immoral cesspool—we expect it, but we don’t need to accept them as our heroes. We deserve more.

The problem we have today is that this pseudo feminism has spread from Hollywood, to our everyday culture, and, most importantly, to our government. The people meant to keep us safe and guide us by the direction of the Constitution have been infected by this horrid wave of new feminism that teaches our women the only way we will succeed is if we are cold, heartless, and angry…which is exactly opposite of our nature as women.

We deserve more than this, and more importantly we deserve better heroes than Hillary Clinton, the most corrupt political figure the United States has ever seen.

Every time I would hear people praise Hillary or express delight that she would be the first woman president, I would feel physically ill—this was not the woman I wanted representing my country or my gender.

Hillary has a history of corruption. She is the only first lady fingerprinted by the FBI because she has been under investigation multiple times, she has been careless with classified information, she covered up for her husband’s sex scandals and bullied the victims into silence, she has used charity funds for her own benefit, and she has been quoted saying she “admire[s] Margaret Sanger enormously, her courage, her tenacity, her vision…” Yes, Margaret Sanger, the woman who claimed, “colored people are like human weeds and need to be exterminated.” Margaret Sanger, the woman who believed in making an ultimate race and said, “we want a world freer, happier, cleaner—we want a race of thoroughbreds.” Yes, that woman, Hillary is in awe of the woman who was willing to exterminate millions to gain a perfect race…hmm, remind you of anyone?

How on earth can we show Hillary Clinton to our daughters, sisters, nieces, and friends, and say this is the woman you should strive to be? It’s absurd.

I would love for our country to have a woman president. I hope one day I will vote for a woman president, but not her, not like this. I want to look at our first woman president and know she exemplifies all that it means to be a human and a woman—not someone who has illegally climbed her way to the top– not someone who is under FBI investigation for treason.

I know it’s despairing—we came so close to having the glass ceiling shattered only to watch a vulgar billionaire hold it up. It’s disheartening knowing that many people do not see women as equals. Those people, however, those small minded fools who think woman are not as powerful or equal as men, will never change their opinion, no matter what. Even if women swept the presidency and the senate, they would still stay closed up in their tiny alpha-male minds and nothing, I repeat, nothing would change them. We, as women, do not owe these people anything, we do, however, owe ourselves to stand with the dignity we know we possess. This dignity does not lie in idolizing a political criminal.

People have been mourning over what they will tell their daughters over this election cycle, and to that I have one plea: please tell them they deserve more than Secretary Clinton—she’s a criminal and has not earned you or your daughters respect. Instead, look for something greater. When you daughter asks you why a woman lost in the presidency, tell her the truth: she wasn’t good enough for you—however, there are many women who are. Instead of crying about women never succeeding, we should look to those who have succeeded, all while maintaining their dignity and elevating the their own lives an the lives of those around them.

There are many women who have achieved greatness, but if you need some ideas, here are nine women who blow Hillary Clinton out of the water.

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  1. Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai is the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, winning it at only 17. She grew up in Taliban occupied part of Pakistan. In 2009, at the young age of 11, Malala started writing anonymous articles about the truth of Taliban occupation, and her pleas for the education of women in Pakistan. In 2012, after her work had been acknowledged, Malala was attacked by a Taliban gunman in 2012, and was close to death, but miraculously survived. Later, in 2013, 2014, and 2015, she was named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World.” She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, and still works as an activist for female education.

“Do not wait for someone else to come and speak for you. It’s you who can change the world.”

  1. Emma Watson

Along with being the awesome Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter movies, Emma Watson spends most of her time as an activist for gender equality. Emma doesn’t stop going when she finds something worth fighting for. In 2014 she became the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. Her main project is the HeForShe campaign, which calls for men to help the fight for equality among the genders.

“Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong.”

  1. Leah Darrow

Leah Darrow appeared in the 3rd season of America’s Next Top Model, and after tried her career as a model in New York City. She soon found the modeling lifestyle was ruining her soul and she was sure she deserved more. She fled from the modeling career and has now devoted her life to showing women they were made for greatness and helping them see their dignity and worth.

“We shouldn’t shy away from the world, but know who we are when we go into it.”

  1. Serena Williams

Serena Williams has proved hard work and dedication pay off. Serena is, without a single doubt, one of the best athletes in the world. She has dominated tennis and redefined the way the sport is played. Not only has she controlled the field in women’s tennis, she is the most decorated tennis player of all-time, male or female. She is humble and gracious, yet plays with a force to be reckoned with—she is truly the best athlete for young players to exemplify.

“It all begins and ends in your mind. What you give power to, has power over you, if you allow it.”

  1. Megyn Kelley

Whether you agree with her politically or not, it is hard to deny that Megyn Kelly has done some amazing things in her professional career. She is succeeding in a profession mostly dominated by men. She has proven that gender doesn’t matter when it comes to pulling ahead, and she has done it all with class and determination. While Megyn doesn’t let her gender get in the way of success, she also does not allow it to be belittled. Whenever a case of gender inequality surfaces, she handles it professionally, yet she defends women when defense is needed. In her career she has had to deal with men looking down on her, but she has broken down those barriers and shown the world how hard she can fight.

“If you work in a male-dominated industry, don’t waste time worrying about the fact that you work in a male-dominated industry.”

  1. Immaculee Ilibagiza

Immaculee Ilibagiza is one of the most amazing human beings in the world. She is a native of Rwanda and endured and survived the Rwandan Genocide by living in a 3×4 bathroom with seven other women for 91 days. Today, she speaks all over the world about forgiveness and healing.

“The love of a single heart can make a world of difference.”

  1. Maya Angelou

The late Maya Angelou was an author and civil rights activist. She wrote memoirs and poems centralized around racism, family life, women, and identity. She worked with Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights movement and was a renowned speaker for most of her life. President Barak Obama awarded Angelou with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. Angelou died on May 28, 2014 at the age of 86.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

  1. Mary Barra

Mary Barra is an inspiration to businesswomen everywhere. In 2014 she became the first female CEO of General Moters Company, one of the largest auto companies in the world. Barra’s first job at General Motors was when she was 18 and she worked her way up to the top. In 2014 she was on the cover of Time’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” and in 2015 she was number one on Fortune’s Most Powerful Women list, and has been listed in the top ten of Forbes most powerful women.

“Do every job you’re in like you’re going to do it for the rest of your life, and demonstrate that ownership of it.”

  1. Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa is a global symbol of sacrificial love and generosity. Mother Teresa became a nun at the age of 27 and began her service in Calcutta as a teacher. During her time there she saw her true calling was to serve the poor. In 1950 she received permission to start the Missionaries of Charity, a religious order made specifically to help the poor in Calcutta. Her order started with 13 sisters, but has now grown to over 4,000 sisters and hundreds of charity houses worldwide. Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, and she has been honored by political and religious leaders worldwide. Mother Teresa died in 1997. Since then she has been connected to multiple miracles, which lead to her canonization to sainthood in the Catholic Church.

“Do think for people not because of who they are or what they can do in return, but because of who you are.”

 

These nine women come from different background, have different political and religious views, and have different vocations and talents, yet all of them show the power women have to succeed. We may not have a woman president right now, and we may not have one for a long time, but that doesn’t really matter—our gender is strong and valuable, and we have the drive to change the world and make it a better place for all.

Rest for a Searching Heart

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Searching, searching, searching. 

This action of searching has become more and more prominent in my life and in the lives of people around me. Searching for the right school, searching for the right job, searching for the right group of friends, searching for a purpose, searching for their future husband or wife, searching for the right church, searching for excitement, searching for something new, searching for the truth, or merely searching for something entirely unknown.

As humans with a vast intellect, we have a beautiful desire to search. We have a need for knowledge that is unique to our species alone. We have the desire to find something better than what we have now—a way to improve our lives in order to live to the best of our ability. This desire is instilled in our skin, in our hearts, and in our soul; we all want to be the best version of ourselves and we all want to live our life to the fullest—we desire perfect happiness.

Because of this desire we are in a constant state of searching for whatever it is that will make us into that perfect version of ourself, but the question all of us ask in this stage is what is IT that we must find? We know the answer is out there; IT has to exist because we are not made to be inadequate. We are meant to be the best versions of ourselves, so there must be something that will help us achieve that goal. But what is IT?

This question has haunted mankind since the beginning. Adam and Eve thought IT was pure, unlimited knowledge. Socrates believed that true happiness came from a rational effort of harmonizing your body and soul by gaining complete control of your desires. Buddhists believe the path to your best version of yourself is by obtaining Nirvana—a state reached once you have disciplined your body, soul, and mind to no longer require or crave earthly things. Hindus believe perfect happiness comes from mediation and liberation of the soul from the body. The French philosopher John Locke believed true happiness came from satisfying your desires, particularity those desires that are intrinsically good for you as an individual. Aristotle said “he is happy who lives in accordance with complete virtue and is sufficiently equipped with external goods, not for some chance period but throughout a complete life” (Nicomachean Ethics).

In just those handful of great thinkers we have several ideas and theories about what happiness is and how to achieve it—they all believe that happiness, or the best version of yourself, is the end goal of the human earthly life, however with all the different ideas of how to obtain it, it’s not surprising that we are still stuck searching for the seemingly unobtainable desire.

This search begins at birth and, unfortunately for all of us, it has no end in sight. Since, however, everything has a beginning and end, we can easily conclude that there is an obtainable end. Furthermore, while we are all individuals, we are all members of the same species, the same form of rational, living, breathing human beings, body and soul, I believe we can only find PERFECT happiness the same thing. 

Now, I say perfect happiness because I believe we all obtain imperfect, or temporary happiness in different ways. I feel incredibly happy sitting fourth row at a hockey game, while my best friend feels happy while watching The Bachelor. These are temporary cases of happiness, but that is not what we are talking about. I could go to 1,000 hockey games and I would still be searching the thing that calms my restless heart. My best friend could watch 1,000 episodes of The Bachelor, and this may make her temporarily happy (which I don’t understand, but that is another blog post in itself), but she will still feel that searching feeling in her heart, unless she has lodged her happiness in something more fundamental, more substantial, more true than something that only gives you 58 minutes of happiness—we, as humans, want more.

The reason I have been ruminating on this topic is because I recently re-read a poem that I completely adore. The poem is called “The Collar” written by George Herbert and it perfectly describes the searching I am talking about.

The Collar

By: George Herbert

I struck the board, and cried, “No more;

I will abroad!

What? shall I ever sigh and pine?

My lines and life are free, free as the road,

Loose as the wind, as large as store.

Shall I be still in suit?

Have I no harvest but a thorn

To let me blood, and not restore

What I have lost with cordial fruit?

Sure there was wine

Before my sighs did dry it; there was corn

Before my tears did drown it.

Is the year only lost to me?

Have I no bays to crown it,

No flowers, no garlands gay? All blasted?

All wasted?

Not so, my heart; but there is fruit,

And thou hast hands.

Recover all thy sigh-blown age

On double pleasures: leave thy cold dispute

Of what is fit and not. Forsake thy cage,

Thy rope of sands,

Which petty thoughts have made, and made to thee

Good cable, to enforce and draw,

And be thy law,

While thou didst wink and wouldst not see.

Away! take heed;

I will abroad.

Call in thy death’s-head there; tie up thy fears;

He that forbears

To suit and serve his need

Deserves his load.”

But as I raved and grew more fierce and wild

At every word,

Methought I heard one calling, Child!

And I replied My Lord.


Ah! This poem just speaks to my soul! Now, don’t worry if it didn’t speak to you right away, I had to read it 45 times and listen to a lecture about it until I finally understood the full meaning. 

This poem follows a priest who doubts his work. He feels all of his work and his sacrifices have been for naught. He no longer feels the glories of all that he has done. When he was younger he saw first hand the fruits of his labor, but now, nothing. He finds there is no other option than to abandon his post; give up his searching and flee for an easier path. 

As this poem progresses the narrator gets angrier and more despaired at his present circumstances. He is searching for joy he had before; the peace of being satisfied.

The crucial part of this poem comes in the last four lines:

But as I raved and grew more fierce and wild

At every word,

Methought I heard one calling, Child!

And I replied My Lord.

 

It’s amazing how quickly the poem turns here. He has line after line of rage and confusion and then here at the end all it took was one word from His Lord and all of that fear and anxiety disappears and he is at peace again. 

This poem perfectly exemplifies the searching we all go through. We want to be recognized, to be worthy and useful, but nothing we do seems good enough because our hearts seek something not of this world.

“Because God has made us for Himself, our hearts are restless until they rest in him.” 

St. Augustine is another perfect example of this searching. His whole life he searched for the physical happiness his heart desired, but that’s all he was doing, searching. Finally he stopped searching and he began to accept God in his life. He accepted the role and the path God wanted him to take and his search was over. No, he didn’t find ultimate happiness on earth, because, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, only imperfect happiness is attainable on earth, but he knew the perfect happiness was awaiting him at the end of the journey and he no longer needed to search for it here on earth.

You see, searching is not the answer. As humans we have the unfortunate habit of thinking we are the only ones who define our path. “We hold the keys to our destiny” or however the saying goes—I don’t really know because it’s a waste of time. The answer is acceptance and trust.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” Proverbs 3:5

So there are two things we have to do to obtain happiness: accept God to work in our lives, and trust his plan is the only plan that will truly make us the best version of ourselves. We have to abandon our endless search for the best end result we can imagine and accept that God’s end result is a bazillion times greater than anything our minds could come up with.

This obviously doesn’t mean just stop living and wait for God to set your life in motion; no, not at all, because God is a God of action. He wants to you follow his plan willingly, not lead you down the path with your hands tied. But he also wants you to be actively following him and actively trusting in his way.

I actually agree with Aristotle’s idea of earthly happiness, “he is happy who lives in accordance with complete virtue and is sufficiently equipped with external goods, not for some chance period but throughout a complete life.” I think it’s an imperfect happiness like Aquinas suggests, but I do agree that if we live in accordance with complete virtue we will be truly happy, because true virtue can lie only in accordance with God’s plan. One cannot be truly virtuous without God—it’s impossible.

The search we go on can be fruitful. It can help bring clarity and understanding. It wields knowledge and the yearning to discover the new and beautiful. Yet, even with the fruit the search brings, our hearts will continue to be restless until we rest in the peace of God. We will be restless until we stop the search and accept the beauty God has laid before our feet, all while whispering to us to follow Him.

“When I come to be united to thee with all my being, then there will be no more pain and toil for me, and my life shall be a real life, being wholly filled by thee.”

– Saint Augustine.