I Believe in Broken-Heartedness, by Jaque Reyes

I believe in broken-heartedness.

Before 2015, those words would have never come out of my mouth. Back then I believed in the power of ‘music’, ‘opera’, ‘traveling the world’, being a ‘superstar’, ‘singleness’, and most importantly, never having children. I wanted to make my parents proud and make a name for myself. I was a sophomore in college with a perfect GPA and a promising future. I had never had a boyfriend or even considered it.

However, I met a boy in 2015. He rapidly became my best friend and I was head over heels for him. I quickly fell in love and my whole life revolved around him. Unfortunately, he started pressuring me to do things I did not want to do. I had never kissed a boy before, let alone do anything else with a man. I was so shy and innocent, yet, I was so in love. I did not want to disappoint him. He promised to love me and never leave me. But then…

I became pregnant.

I hope whoever is reading this can imagine how this affected my life.  My opera-career? My family’s expectations? My perfect life?  It was all gone. I went from being a college virgin, to possibly a pregnant drop-out. At least my boyfriend was a source of comfort and shoulder to cry on. But then? He left me too.  I remember arguing with him once, and a few weeks later he called to ask me something. He wanted me to meet his new girlfriend. He wanted us to “all get along and support each other.” BS! I do not want to explain what this did to me and my psyche. I will never have the words to explain how second-hand and worthless I felt. Being broken-hearted was an understatement. I was lucky enough to get through the next hour, let alone the next day. The man I so deeply loved abandoned me for another woman, only to get her pregnant, stick by her side, and then make me watch every moment of it too.

However, all of this molded me to be who I am today: “Jaque.” The girl who is a single mother, transferred schools and is a full-time student again, has a job, a 4.0 GPA, is pursuing her dreams, and so much more. Having a baby did not rob me of any of that. Heck, I am much more accomplished now than I was back then! Being broken-hearted did not make me a damaged good. It simply woke me up. It brought true meaning and perspective to my life. Furthermore, it also taught me what true forgiveness looks like. Forgiving my ex and his girlfriend was no easy task, but it is an everyday choice I continue to make. Also, because I know what feeling deeply depressed feels like, every day that I am not depressed feels like heaven!  Things were truly put into perspective.  Broken-heartedness gave me all of that and more. I would not trade it for the world.

…………………………………………………………

This essay was written for Dr. Elizabeth Flowers’ World Religions in America course.  You can read more about the TCU Religion Department here

I Believe in Doing the Right Thing, by Owen Roche

I believe in doing the right thing. Often times, it is a lot harder to do the right thing rather than doing something else or nothing at all. This reigns true for almost any scenario, from holding the door open for someone to forgiving others for their mistakes. As a young child, this concept of always trying to do the right thing was simply a lesson my parents tried to teach me, an idea that seemed to fly over my head. This changed, however, when my world was flipped upside down.

I was 10 years old when my father told me he was being deployed to Iraq as part of his military service. Devastation, confusion, and sadness swept over me. I was feeling sorry for not only myself, but my mother and sister as well, because I knew how hard the following 14 months were going to be. My sister and I both played multiple sports, hockey and baseball for myself, lacrosse and swimming for her. As I said, I was 10 years old, and she was 8. It was going to be an absolute nightmare for my mother to even attempt to drive us to each and every practice and game, making sure we each had three meals every day. This, along with making sure we were performing well in school, proved to be quite the burden early on.

The first day after my father left, my mother had to take me to baseball, drop me off, take my sister to lacrosse, pick me up, pick my sister up, and finally take us home. On the way home, our car got a flat tire, and that night I sat awake in my bed, listening to my mother weep alone in her room.

It appeared that this stretch was going to be tougher than we thought. That is, until the community we lived in stepped in. Families of teammates for both our teams began to offer rides to and from practices and games. Neighbors would make amazing dinners and bring it over for us to enjoy. Friends would invite my sister and I over to spend the night, giving my mother some much needed nights off. Why were all these people doing this for us? Wasn’t driving out of their way to pick me up a huge inconvenience? Why were they cooking us dinner and not cooking for themselves?

It was because it was the right thing to do.

These families knew the challenge we were facing and stopped at nothing to help. It would have been so easy for them to just turn a blind eye to us. To this day, my family and I are indebted to these people for their graciousness and generosity. Their actions also made a lasting impression on a pair of young kids. To this day, I always strive and will continue to strive to do the right thing, regardless of the difficulty or inconvenience it presents.

…………………………………………………………

This essay was written for Dr. Elizabeth Flowers’ World Religions in America course.  You can read more about the TCU Religion Department here

 

I Believe in the Unity of the Heart and Mind, by Shriya Sachdeva

One of the greatest things I struggled with last year was deciding what major I wanted when applying for college. I was aware that people change their major all the time, but I still wanted to have some sort of goal to ground myself on. I think the bigger question I had was: What do I want to do with my life?

Almost every individual has their eyes set on a dream career, and I began panicking as I couldn’t figure out which of my passions I wanted to pursue, or if there was something else altogether. My life can be summed up in four words: singing, reading, writing, and healing. I didn’t yet know which one was something I loved enough to dedicate my life to.

One day, I approached a teacher with my doubts, and the line she said became the motto of my life: “Draw a line from your heart and draw another line from your mind; where these two intersect lies your occupation.”

Her words gave me some thinking to do.

When I broke it down, I realized that while I love writing, I need the correct emotional stance to be able to pour out my feelings into words. For me, this doesn’t happen very often, because my writing can’t be forced. As for singing, I love giving not-so-secret concerts in the shower, but doing it at a professional level just isn’t for me. I don’t want my voice to represent me; I want all of me to be put into doing what I love. That leaves medicine.

At first, I was discouraged about becoming a practitioner because it takes so long and requires so much effort. I came to realize that this hard work is only worth it if there is a love and passion for this field. I feel like I have the intellectual ability that is needed to pursue medical school. I have always found science interesting, especially biology and anatomy/physiology (the health sciences). I do find it difficult, but the thrill of understanding how a body works is ineffable. I also care a lot about others and want to serve people. I feel happy when I help others heal. Isn’t that incentive enough?

As I have said before, I believe in love: love for life, love for a career, and love for other people, too. I believe that love is what holds this entire world together, and this is why I want to be a physician: to love humanity, and to heal.

While a career isn’t everything, it is a major part of life, and through the quest of finding myself, I have understood the nuances of loving life. I have found meaning in the aphorism “Follow your heart, but take your mind with you”, because in life, the act of thinking and using one’s common sense is the antidote to the blind spots of a heart still learning to love.

This I believe with all my heart- and mind.

…………………………………………………………

This essay was written for Dr. Elizabeth Flowers’ World Religions in America course.  You can read more about the TCU Religion Department here