I only seem to rip skirts if they are brown. Weird, right? During the beginning of summer, when I was riding a bike back from Mass (something that I have done numerous times in a skirt), right in the middle of the intersection in front of my old high school—my skirt got caught in the back tire. And my skirt continued to wrap around the tire, as I—attached to my bike—hobbled to the sidewalk, to pull my skirt out. Needless to say, my beautiful, soft brown skirt had huge rips and tire marks in the back. Well, that happened once, so of course, I would never be crazy enough to rip a skirt again…so I thought.
Well, a couple weeks ago, I was writing an essay comparing Coleridge and Blake’s methods of escapism in Romantic poetry (the Romantic movement, not mushy gushy romantic poetry), and I was going crazy. I had been writing all day, and I needed a break. I was sitting in the upstairs of Egan (an academic building) on a couch next to Jacob (he and a classmate were studying for their Theology midterm), but I jumped up, and skipped towards the water fountain, doing some flying Irish dance leaps. Rip…. “Shoot, I ripped my skirt.” I had forgotten that this particular brown skirt had a flowy overskirt, but a narrower underskirt. And that bottom layer had ripped.
It’s pretty crazy that I would rip my skirt. Not just one skirt, but two skirts. Not only that, but they were both brown. Even though I thought I would never make the same mistake twice, I did. The same holds true with Latin. During my first semester ever of Latin—on the midterm--I switched conjugations of my verb, thus missing most of the points on the first page. “Well,” I thought, “I’m never making that mistake again.” But of course, what happens one year later, in my third semester of Latin, on the midterm? I switch verb conjugations. Which plummeted me down so far that I had to break up with Latin. I even wrote a break-up poem for the occasion! (It’s the English major in me…) Course withdrawal form in hand, I had to humble myself to have my teacher sign off on my decision.
It was tough at first for me to come to peace with this decision. I had made the same mistake two times—just like ripping my brown skirts. How crazy is that? Think about all of those other people who actually learn from their mistakes! I must be so much less than them, right? Wrong. We all fail to learn from our mistakes. It’s called concupiscence. Our tendency—our inclination—to sin. How many times have we gone into the Confessional—only to restate the sins that we confessed during our last visit? Come on, we’ve all done it before. We make the same mistakes multiple times. When Satan finds our weak spot, he tends to try to use it. So should we just sit and mope in our failure? Should I just sit and mope about not learning from my Latin mistakes or my skirt-ripping occasions?
We have to get up and keep going, being at peace with God working in us. If I don’t want to rip any more brown skirts (or any skirts, for that matter), then I have to stop jumping and leaping around in skirts that aren’t made for jumping around in. If I don’t want to make the same mistakes in Latin, I just have to work harder and more thoroughly at learning the basics. If I want to eradicate some habitual sins from my life, I need to strengthen those weak spots in my life. I can’t just sit around and whine about my horrible failings. I need to be strong. Utilize the sacraments and personal prayer/devotions, as well as positive practices—to reinforce those areas where I usually fall. So that I may love others and God more and more!
So right now. Pray, and see one area of your life where you keep falling down. Find that weak spot where the devil pushes through. Now determine a specific way that this week, you can reinforce that area of your life, so as to fight and overcome the temptation, instead of succumbing to the devil.
Praised be Jesus now and forever!
And, for anyone interested, my “break-up with Latin” poem…
Upon Withdrawing from Wheelock’s Latin
Dedicated to all students who struggle with Latin.
St. John Vianney, Pray for us!
St. Joseph of Cupertino, Pray for us!
When we first met, I was terrified
But then put at ease with your kindness,
And the promise of where we would go
The afternoon sun would look
Down upon us, as we sat together for
Hours upon hours, gazing on each other
You brought me to new places, showing
Me so much beauty, bringing me deeper
We kept growing deeper, pulling out
Each other’s faults, but no true relationship
Is without imperfection, is it? I was thrilled to
Spend this time with you, and I joyfully
Anticipated the places you would take me
The things that you would teach me
But things could not be rose-colored and
Full of sunshine; we had our disagreements,
And we would get over them. But
When you went overboard, the tears pressed
Against my eyeballs, and I fought hard to keep
My composure in the midst of everyone else
I couldn’t break down, no, I had to be strong—
Strong like you always were
It wasn’t until I was far away from your all-seeing
Presence that I finally let it get to me; the tears
Flowed out like raindrops, drenching my face.
My mother’s voice on the phone consoled me,
My best friend soothed me, and I began to feel
Peace washing over my skin like a nice
Warm shower on a cold night
And that peace is making me very strong
Like an athlete lifting weights, I am
Lifting this up above myself, and out
Of my line of vision. I had my hopes and my
Dreams, but you went over the edge; I tried
So hard to please you, but you just couldn’t
Do the same for me. You played hardball
With me, now I’m playing hardball with you
See, I’m through—it’s over, I’m done for now
I need a break for a while. We need some space
To think it out, to pull ourselves together
If we can both grow up a little more, and get our
Priorities and commitments in line, then maybe
Who knows? We might have a future together
In store for us. But until then, stay away—go fool
Around with some other unsuspecting girl, maybe
You’ll learn someday that a relationship is a two
Way street, and you need to live up your end of the
Bargain and help the other person out.
So I’m done, I’m through, I’ve had enough of
You and your ways, and I’ll spend my days more
Wisely, profitably, with those who love me much
More than you ever could. Farewell, I hope you learn
And take care of yourself, as I put you up there
Back on my shelf, dear Wheelock’s Latin.