Emory Taught Me How To Love

Emory Taught Me How To Love

Through God, Emory taught me that life is always complicated, and always never easy, and that's for good because God's plan is a far superior path than my own plan. The plan that God has taught me is one of love. I thought I was a loving person before, but God taught me what it meant to love when it's not in your self-interest, to love when everything tells you that you shouldn't.

Ryan Fan
Ryan Fan
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I'm graduating this week. Emory has taught me more than any other four years I've spent anywhere else, and what they say is true: the most valuable lessons are those you learn outside the classroom.

That isn't to say what I learned in the classroom isn't insignificant. Clearly, a big part of my career and professional life is predicated on what I learned about pyruvate dehydrogenase and the enzymes driving the Citric Acid Cycle in biochemistry or the aldol addition mechanism behind the Michael Addition, or even the writers and literary legends driving movements like realism, modernism, and postmodernism. Yes, my love for Robert Frost's expressions of choice and the fact of the anxiety, uncertainty, and complexity of the human condition have extended to my personal life, with his poems "Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening" and "Desert Places" resonating with many of the personal problems I faced in my everyday life.

But, again, the most valuable lessons are the ones I learned outside the classroom. I learned from Emory that hope and joy cannot exist without suffering and brokenness, and my life experiences have felt the former, the latter, and everything in between during my time at Emory. I learned what it meant to be loved and unconditionally supported by an entire community, to know the family that God intended for me to. I also knew what it meant to realize I can't live, go on, and cope with my problems on my own, that I needed a savior in God and God's gifts of unconditional love. It saved my life to have realized and experienced that love.

And that love has extended to the pain that Emory caused me. The sleepless nights dealing with society's rush to judgment, misunderstandings, and self-interest that didn't want to deal with me once I became a liability a liability that made me realize, on a level I never knew before, that even your closest friends can be cruel, self-serving, and unsympathetic in a way that will break you down as nothing has ever broken you down before. I learned that when they say, "they were never your friends anyway" just simply isn't true because I can't feel this much pain and suffering if some of my closest friends that turned their backs on me weren't close with me in the first place.

"Know that people love you, and they will always love you, Ryan, even if it's from a distance," one friend told me the other day.

Emory taught me how to love. And I do know this, and I think in about six months or a year, I'll look back on my life struggles at Emory and realize, even now, that I still love those friends that turned their backs on me, that I still love them at a distance, and I always will. I learned what it meant to observe that I'm more resilient than I ever imagined, and that the people I love are too. In emotional warfare and in a perpetual, traumatic state of in extremis, everyone copes and grieves with what is lost very differently. In those times it has become so important to me to not give condemnation, but to reserve it. The greatest gift in my faith is the gift of mercy, to be with those that are suffering. And in my situation, that meant offering mercy to those that everyone told me I shouldn't.

I learned that the truth doesn't really matter. For everyone's personal reasons, they will believe what they want to believe. That's not always a bad thing, but rather an adaptive mechanism that has been our means of survival in all of our species' existence. From a Utilitarian perspective, the greatest good for the whole and group is more important than the rights and dignity of the individual. But I experienced what it meant to have those rights and dignity deprived in a manner I didn't think possible, and not even by people who sought to persecute and forsake me, but by people I love. By my friends. I learned what it meant for the same person that refused to even acknowledge my greeting in public to express their utter sympathy and support in private, from a distance, to shed tears to let me know how sorry they were for how much I was suffering. Emory taught me that life is simply just like this, that things will not always be fair, that things sometimes won't make sense, that there's nothing you can do to stop the condemnation, persecution, and shaming, that sometimes the best thing you can do is wait it out and never give up and keep standing.

Emory tested me in a way that I never thought I could ever be tested. It exposed to me that even enough life isn't always good, God always is, and the extent to which you show your love for God is how you love others, especially those that forsake and persecute you. Through God, Emory taught me that life is always complicated, and always never easy, and that's for good because God's plan is a far superior path than my own plan, and the plan that God has taught me is one of love. I thought I was a loving person before, but God taught me what it meant to love when it's not in your self-interest, to love when everything tells you that you shouldn't.

As an education, my school taught me everything: Emory taught me how to love.

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I Might Have Aborted My Fetus When I Was 18, But Looking Back, I Saved A Child’s Life

It may have been one of the hardest decisions of my life, but I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't had done it.

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Due to recent political strife happening in the world today, I have decided to write on a very touchy, difficult subject for me that only a handful of people truly know.

When I was 18 years old, I had an abortion.

I was fresh out of high school, and deferring college for a year or two — I wanted to get all of my immature fun out so I was prepared to focus and work in the future. I was going through my hardcore party stage, and I had a boyfriend at the time that truly was a work of art (I mean truly).

Needless to say, I was extremely misinformed on sex education, and I never really thought it could happen to me. I actually thought I was invincible to getting pregnant, and it never really registered to me that if I had unprotected sex, I could actually get pregnant (I was 18, I never said I was smart).

I remember being at my desk job and for weeks, I just felt so nauseous and overly tired. I was late for my period, but it never really registered to me something could be wrong besides just getting the flu — it was November, which is the peak of flu season.

The first person I told was my best friend, and she came with me to get three pregnancy tests at Target. The first one came negative, however, the second two came positive.

I truly believe this was when my anxiety disorder started because I haven't been the same ever since.

Growing up in a conservative, Catholic Italian household, teen pregnancy and especially abortion is 150% frowned upon. So when I went to Planned Parenthood and got the actual lab test done that came out positive, I was heartbroken.

I felt like I was stuck between two roads: Follow how I was raised and have the child, or terminate it and ultimately save myself AND the child from a hard future.

My boyfriend at the time and I were beyond not ready. That same week, I found out he had cheated on me with his ex and finances weren't looking so great, and I was starting to go through the hardest depression of my life. Because of our relationship, I had lost so many friends and family, that I was left to decide the fate of both myself and this fetus. I could barely take care of myself — I was drinking, overcoming drug addictions, slightly suicidal and living with a man who didn't love me.

As selfish as you may think this was, I terminated the fetus and had the abortion.

I knew that if I had the child, I would be continuing the cycle in which my family has created. My goal since I was young was to break the cycle and breakaway from the toxicity in how generations of children in my family were raised. If I had this child, I can assure you my life would be far from how it is now.

If I had carried to term, I would have had a six-year old, and God knows where I would've been.

Now, I am fulfilling my future by getting a BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, having several student leadership roles, and looking into law schools for the future.

Although it still haunts me, and the thought of having another abortion truly upsets me, it was the best thing to ever happen to me. I get asked constantly "Do you think it's just to kill a valuable future of a child?" and my response to that is this:

It's in the hands of the woman. She is giving away her valuable future to an unwanted pregnancy, which then resentment could cause horror to both the child and the woman.

As horrible as it was for me in my personal experience, I would not be where I am today: a strong woman, who had overcome addiction, her partying stage, and ultimately got her life in order. If I would have had the child, I can assure you that I would have followed the footsteps of my own childhood, and the child would not have had an easy life.

Because of this, I saved both my life and the child's life.

And if you don't agree or you dislike this decision, tough stuff because this is my body, my decision, my choice — no one else.

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Everything You Need To Know About The New Abortion Ban In Several States

DISCLAIMER: the following does not include any of my personal beliefs/opinions.

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Abortion has and will always be a controversial and very sensitive topic for all genders. The following article delves into the details about the Alabama abortion ban that was signed to be a law which, if it passes, will be in effect January 2020 and briefly touches on the Georgia Heartbeat Bill.

Roe v. Wade (1973)

In 1973, Roe v. Wade 410 was passed in the U.S. by the Supreme Court. In short, this ruled that the Due Process Clause along with the 14th Amendment in the Constitution would work to give pregnant women the choice to choose whether or not they wanted an abortion AND should coincide with the government's personal agenda to protect the health of all who is involved. What I mean by this is that the Supreme Court decided during the second trimester of a pregnancy, abortions would be allowed. But, if it is the third trimester, abortion is to be prohibited unless the health of the mother is in danger. This law catapulted the abortion debate which is still going on today.


Abortion vs. Alabama

Alabama's governor, Kay Ivey, signed off on a bill that will basically ban all abortions, including rape, incest, any abnormality, and if the mother's life is in danger on May 14, 2019 after acquiring approval from 25 Senators . This could be a problem considering that it very much contradicts Roe v. Wade (1973). To Ivey, the bill is a reflection of the values in which the citizens of Alabama believe: all life is precious and a gift from God.


Governor of the State of Alabama, Kay Ivey (pictured above). home.bt.com

The governor of Georgia also signed a bill to ban abortion after detecting the slightest heartbeat which is approximately around the six-week pregnancy period (around the time most women discover that they are pregnant). Another important take on this is that despite the rift and debate that is going on between Democrats and Republicans, most Republicans believe that Roe v. Wade will be overturned. This is looking more like a possibility considering most of the Supreme Court consists of people who support the Republican party. In short, the main idea is to ban abortion in all of the United States, not just in some states like it is currently. In regards to Alabama, the bill still has not been enacted into a law and could possibly encounter delay in the Supreme Court because, after all, this is a very debated topic. For now, abortion is still legal until January 2020 or when it becomes a law.

Conditions of the Abortion Law

The conditions of the abortion law explicitly states that abortion during any stage of a pregnancy is prohibited and if any medical professional aids in the practice/procedure of an abortion, they will face up to 99 years in prison. If an attempt is made to perform an abortion procedure, an individual can be sentenced to 10 years in prison. Women who successfully get an abortion or attempt to will be prosecuted as well. However, only those who provide another with an abortion will be punished in Alabama, not the one receiving the service.

No form of abortion is allowed including: rape, incest, life-threatening abnormality, or putting the life of the mother in danger.


Alabama expected to approve controversial abortion bill www.youtube.com


Two Sides to the Debate

Although most Republicans support the law, the Democratic party has combatted the notion of it. Many opponents of the ban state that the restriction can put the lives of many in danger and affects women of color and those who are living in poverty heavily. ACLU and the Center for Reproductive Rights have also declared that they will sue. Many young people have also reached out to social media websites such as Twitter and Instagram to voice their opinions:

Tweets from individuals who are anti-abortion ban www.wnd.com

Many celebrities have also stated their opinions on the matter. Rihanna stated in one of her Instagram posts, "Take a look," referring to a picture of 25 Senators in Alabama who approved the abortion bill, "These are the idiots making decisions for WOMEN in America. Governor Kay Ivey...SHAME ON YOU!!!"

Although both sides clearly have their opinions on the debate of pro-life/pro-choice, one thing we all can agree on is that this will be a long process that can make or break the lives of a lot of people in our nation.

Until next time,

Salsa.

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