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“I once heard an Italian winemaker say that to produce good wine the grapes must struggle, they must suffer. The taste of good wine is the taste of struggle and suffering mellowed into beauty. There’s a deep truth there that applies to far more than winemaking—it also applies to the formation of the soul. All the great biographies of the Bible involve suffering. The great souls grown in the Lord’s vineyard all know what it is to suffer. American Christianity, on the other hand, is conditioned to avoid suffering at all cost. But what a cost it is! Grape juice Christianity is what is produced by the purveyors of the motivational-seminar, you-can-have-it-all, success-in-life, pop-psychology Christianity. It’s a children’s drink. It comes with a straw and is served in a little cardboard box. I don’t want to drink that anymore. I don’t want to serve that anymore. I want the vintage wine. The kind of faith marked by mystery, grace, and authenticity. The kind of Christianity that has the capacity to endlessly fascinate is not produced apart from struggle and suffering. It’s the pain of struggle and suffering that confers character and complexity to our faith.”

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My Anthem. My Heartcry. My Battlecry.

As an undergraduate I struggled to keep a 3.0. For some that would be a miracle, since they do not enjoy school and or have a difficult time with it. But for someone who aspires to be a professor and attend a top notch university, that is almost like academic suicide.
I made a few poor decisions and made a habit of pushing myself too hard with a ton of things on my plate. Massive amounts of stress, lack of sleep and sometimes a day or to without eating because I couldn’t spare the 3 hours a day one spends eating; which as you can imagine, led to emotional drain and panic/anxiety attacks almost weekly.

Many friends and professors had no idea what was going on only that I seemed different. I just wasn’t turning in assignments. I wasn’t spending time with friends. I am pretty sure I cried myself to sleep a couple times, for a degree I was not sure I even wanted anymore; even as I walked across the stage at graduation a new anxiety gripped me. An echo of a new fear resonated in the auditorium, it overpowered the cheers and mass celebrations of the crowds, and it trumped the sense of victory that finishing the race should have brought.

The same phrase reverberated not just within my head, it seemed to shake the very foundations of the auditorium.

Continue reading “My Anthem. My Heartcry. My Battlecry.”