Poem: The Lost Unknown

I wrote this as a junior in high school after participating in a Life Chain event in town. It’s a silent, prayer-filled protest against abortion while also offering a public witness of people who want change, other options. I had been joining my parents in these events for many years, even if I didn’t always fully understand what it was about. But it meant standing on the sidewalk along a busy stretch of road and holding signs, like these.

I knew abortion was wrong. I had some stereotypical ideas in mind of what might prompt people to choose to go through with an abortion. As I got older, I would come to understand more and more of why this decision is such a struggle for many.

After attending the Life Chain event this particular year, I felt inclined to write about it. I remember reaching for pen and paper on the short drive back to our house.

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Mr. Kremin assigns 10th grade autobiography

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A treasured note I received from Mr. Kremin.

Tenth grade meant taking a religion class with Mr. Kremin. I remember him standing at attention in front of the crucifix (in the way only a former member of the military can) to lead us in prayer at the start of class. He faced forward with his back to us; his reverence was an example for the rest of us.

Kremin’s class was amazing because he gave us one of our first tests of being treated as adults. When you walked in the room, you were met with an air of respect. You had to decide how to respond to it. It was the first time that respect in the classroom really seemed palpable: You walk in and you matter. It’s hard to put into words, but it’s one of those intangible things that really resonated with me.

He was a natural teacher and storyteller. What he shared was captivating, maybe because it seemed to be more than going through a lesson. He wanted to communicate more than just the material but to truly reach you, to challenge preconceived notions.

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Seeing yourself through eyes of faith

Part of what forms your self-esteem and self-confidence is knowing who you are. I had images of a wallflower who was unsure of what to say, convinced everyone else’s opinions were more important, images of a clumsy kid who didn’t need any help tripping over her own feet. While to some degree I was shy and quiet, there was so much more going on beneath the surface. Things that I couldn’t quite put my finger on to explain. (I’ve illustrated some of that here.)

What I’ve come to understand, though, is that the true strength of knowing who you are is in your relationship with God and Jesus, in your faith. It’s through faith that you really achieve a true, complete sense of self. The flaws, talents, insecurities etc. are put into more proper perspective.

Not that I completely knew it at the time, and certainly not during eighth grade. I knew God and faith were important. I knew prayer was important. There were reminders for me all over the house. We had multiple crucifixes throughout the house, and I had one in my room near my bed. I even had a small plastic statue of St. Joseph that glowed in the dark. There were other devotionals, tools and images of our faith in different rooms.

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Poem: April 20, 1999

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In honor of today being the 18th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre, I thought I would share the poem I wrote about the event.

I was on the bus on the way to a basketball game during my junior year of high school, two years after the shooting. For once I wasn’t doing homework on the bus; instead I finished reading “She Said Yes,” Cassie Bernall’s witness and felt inspired to write about it from her perspective.

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