The Pulse

The Pulse

Behind The Barriers

His eyes stinging with sweat, he came to a halt in his work—the wall. The wall was made of pure steel and it stood high above the ground. No one could see over the metal barrier. He never felt so…safe.


The first wood plank went up. Before applying any of the white paint, he edged in a list. The list was dug deep into the wood; unless the fence be taken down—the names will never fade away.

The sun was just rising, and with it, his work was just beginning. He began by digging individual slots for the picket planks. He shoveled deep so the fence would be planted in the ground. Then, one by one, each plank stood up. The man connected each plank by two rails. The posts stood 4 feet tall and 3 feet was in the ground. The distance between each post was only 1 inch—that way no can see beyond it. He then went on to paint it white. Each stroke of the brush meant something to him, each plank he finished coating was decorating something. When he was all done with his white picket fence, he felt accomplished. After all, it was perfectly symmetric and surrounded his entire house. The wood was dense and planted firmly in the ground. The fence was so…pleasing. To anyone walking by, the fence looked like it belonged—natural. He made a picket fence for this reason. He didn’t want anyone to be questioning—concerned—about what laid behind the fence.


It was hurt, screaming in pain. It was numb, silent in despair.


He became no longer content with this worthless wood. If one so wished, they would approach the 4-foot-tall fence and see the house— “too close” he thought. Besides, what once was a perfect coat of white paint was now a chipping and deteriorating, fading white picket fence. He then went to put in another fence: this time it would be a chain fence—something not so appealing. He laid the blueprint: It would again surround his house. This time though he would make this fence 7 feet tall. It would also be placed 7 feet from his picket fence. “A more comfortable height and distance” he thought. The chains were to be thick and dense so that a child’s hand could not even fit between the holes. When he finally installed the metal chain fence He thought to himself “This will keep them away; this ugly thing should do the trick”


It was fury, full of fire and burning hate. Yet, it was cold and empty.


This fence was stronger, more stable, yet, it was, in some sense, see through—after all it was just chain fence. People could still see through the barrier and see the picket fence behind and then over that short wall—his house. He was fed up with this; he will have his safety. He started to design it. It was to be 20 feet high and 4 feet thick. Again, it would surround his house. Frustration and haste went into its making. It was in a short matter of time for the wall to come up—the steel wall. It casted a shadow on the house when the sunset came. It was impregnatable, it was an immovable defense. Its foundation was deep and its purpose was undoubting. His reasoning was deep, his purpose was intentful. No mistakes were made in its building, its creation was of perfect design.


It was a storm, raging and crashing. Yet, it was a puddle, still and lifeless.


His eyes stinging with sweat, he came to a halt in his work—the wall. The wall was made of pure steel and it stood high above the ground. No one could see passed the metal barrier. He never felt so…safe. Yet, one day, and that’s all it took, a visitor stood pounding the outside of the steel wall. The strong bashes were heard from the house. The owner of the house, the builder of the walls, could not ignore the pounding. He, annoyed, went up to the last barrier and yelled “Would stop that, please? Thank you.” The builder of the wall was starting to walk away when the banging from the steel wall continued. He again approached the cold steel and yelled “I told you stop! What do you want?” Then came a response, it was quiet but still hearable from the other side of the steel wall, “I only wish to come in and say hello”. The man, the builder of the wall, was a little confused by the reply. Somehow, unknown how to him, the builder of the wall, asked “If I let you say hello, will you then go?”.

The visitor outside of the wall replied, after a moment, “Yes”. The builder of the wall then let the intrusion in. The visitor, when they met eyes, said “Hello” to the man.

The builder of the wall then replied awkwardly “Hello?”.

The visitor, still looking right at the man’s eyes, said “Well I best be off”.

The man bewildered by the statement, asked, as the visitor was leaving, “Was that it?”. With his backed turned towards the man, the visitor replied “You should really consider tearing this wall down…Drew”. Quickly, the man responded “How do you know my name? Hey! How did you know my name!”. Too late—the visitor was gone.


It used to live, it used to love.


The next day, again, at nearly sunset, there was pounding at the steel door. This time, the man was angered and went to meet the visitor. Just in case of it being different person, the man yelled again, “Hello, would you stop that please? Thank you.” Again, as the man was leaving the wall, the banging started again.

“Hey! Is it you again?” The man yelled, “Please, go bother someone else!” The pounding still continued, “You said you would leave me alone after you said hello!”

“I said I would leave yesterday; I said nothing about today!”

After a long moment, the man grudgingly petitioned “If I let you in today, will you not come back tomorrow or any other day?”

The visitor replied “Only if that’s what you want

He then let him in again. When the two met eyes, again, the visitor had smile on his face, “Hello again” he cheekily said. The builder of the house was first silent and then “What exactly do you want, and how did you know my name?” The visitor quickly answered “How long since you’ve seen the sunset?”.

“What?” asked the builder of the wall.

“Yah know the sunset, how long since you’ve seen it?”

The man answered “Awhile…Since I put the wall up”.

The visitor responded “Shame, real shame; since lately the sunsets have been beautiful”.

“They’re always beautiful around here.”

“Then why put the wall up?”

“I don’t watch them anymore”

“Shame, they’re still real beautiful.”

Growing impatient, which what seemed at the time a pointless conversation, the man, irritated, asked “Are we done?”

“Yes, sorry. I must be off.” As the visitor was turning to leave, “You should at least consider it, taking down this wall and all.” And again, the visitor was gone.

The man annoyed by the intrusion went to bed—trying to sleep off his irritation. When he finally fell asleep, he dreamed. He dreamed of watching the sunsets with them. He awoke. Stirred by the dream he got up. He then ran over to puke in his bathroom toilet. After the emission, the man walked to see the steel wall. “I guess…I would like to see them again” he thought. He then tore down the steel wall.


It use to pound. It used to throb.


It took until dawn to bring the steel wall down. He was exhausted and retired to his house. He opened the door and went to a backroom. In the room, laid a safe. He then spun the code and cracked the safe open. In the safe laid photographs—he gave a sigh. He picked up the stack of pictures. The first was a wedding photo of him and his wife. Then was a photo of his children and him playing baseball on the lawn. The next—was a family picture of them watching the sun go down—watching the sunset all together—all alive. He then began to cry—and he cried bitterly. He cried so long, puddles began to form of the floor of the backroom.


It used to beat. It used to pump.


The next day came and so did the visitor. The man was awoken, on the floor of the backroom, by the sound of a bat hitting the, now rusted, chain fence. When the man went out to meet the visitor, knowing exactly who it was, said “Hello again.”

“Hello!” the visitor enthusiastically responded. “I see you took the wall down, good choice! Now you can see those magnificent sunsets!”

“Yup. Is there something you want again?”

“I was just hoping to play a little baseball with yah, only—this metal fence is in the way,” There was another awkward silence between the two: the man was refusing to respond to the visitor. “When was the last time you threw and hit the ball around?”

“Awhile…Since my family died.” quietly replied the man. By now the visitor had been let inside of the chain fence. The visitor then put his hand on the man’s shoulder. Quickly, the man noticed—there was holes in the palm of the visitor’s hands. “Let’s say we do something about this fence then, Drew?


“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

Cover Image Credit: That White Paper Guy

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.

Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

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The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

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Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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My Political Views Don't Invalidate My Religious Views

And vice versa.


I've seen the skeptical looks people give me when they hear both my religious and political opinions. Some say I can't possibly be a believer in God, a Christian, while also being one of the most politically liberal people they've ever met. Some can't figure out how it adds up.

That doesn't mean that I don't consider my spiritual beliefs when making political decisions. I absolutely do. But everyone seems to assume that Christian = conservative or Republican or whatever other labels you want to give it. A lot of people believe that me celebrating the fact that I'm wholeheartedly a Democrat means I'm automatically an atheist and look down on all religious believers. If they hear that I supported Hilary Clinton, or worse, Bernie Sanders, in the 2016 election, then they assume that I couldn't possibly have a strong relationship with God.

Writing it out like this makes it seem even crazier to me that a lot of people think that these two things depend so heavily on one another. I'd like to remind those people that the separation of church and state exists for a reason. For this very reason.

I'm pro-choice. I unequivocally support a woman's right to choose. I'll advocate for women to have autonomy over their bodies, to have safe and legal access to abortion, until the day I die.

I'm a fierce ally for the LGBTQ community. Same-sex discrimination is something that haunts me to my core and the people I love in this community will always have my support. I will always hold firm in my belief that everyone, regardless of sex or gender identity or sexual orientation, deserves the same opportunities to love and marriage and starting a family.

But these beliefs of mine don't invalidate my belief in God. Or my relationship with church and religion itself. I can be both. I am both.

I've had more than one someone tell me that I can't support same-sex marriage and be a Christian because of what the Bible states. I've had scripture quoted at me in response to the fact that I am and will always be pro-choice. I've even gotten my fair share of dirty looks for having and wanting tattoos.

I've let it roll off my back because I know, in my soul, that I believe in a God who loves. That's it. No buts, no conditions, no restrictions. And even more than that, He tells us to love as he does. No questions asked. My political beliefs don't affect the love I have for human beings. They don't dictate how I get to practice religion. And vice versa, religion doesn't get to dictate what issues I support or which candidates I vote for.

I struggled for a long time to grasp the understanding that I can have my own beliefs, separate from what "traditional" Christians would have me do or say. For a long time, a voice in my head told me that I would be a bad Christian or that God would be disappointed if I chose to believe certain things, say certain things, or be certain things.

It took a long time for me to realize that generosity, compassion, and love should be my number one priorities. That I shouldn't focus on what society and tradition tell me about how Christians have always behaved. That I shouldn't put all my energy and effort into the strict rules or do's and don'ts of religion. Believing in God is about loving your fellow humans. In whatever shape, size, race, or gender they come in.

To me, my belief in God is about creating a safe space for everyone to be exactly the way He made them. Gay or straight. Transgender or Cisgender. Black or white. Christian or Muslim or Hindu or Catholic or Athiest.

It's about morality and standing firm in my own beliefs. It's not about checking each box on a ballot with what the majority of my religion may believe.

Here's the thing about religion: there are over 4000 of them around the world. It's not my job, or yours, to try and correct or dispute every single religious belief on the planet. At their cores, most religions are founded on the same thing. On the ideas of love, of kindness, and of being the best version of yourself.

Throughout history, we've seen that the overlap of religion and government usually don't end well for most involved. We've seen that mass, forced conversion from one religion to another, for reasons politically motivated or otherwise, is not something that can be done humanely or without fatal consequence.

Religion should not be the basis on which every law is created. It shouldn't be an excuse for persecution or alienation of certain minorities.

The only part of any religion that should be carried over into politics is the basis of love and respect.

I can support the LGBTQ community and be pro-choice and support immigrants and vote for whichever candidate my political views align with the most, despite the perceived Christian stereotypes.

There's a lot of pressure for young Christians, or young people a part of any religion, to fit into boxes that have been carefully molded over thousands of years. Boxes that say you can't believe one thing while also believing another, just because your religion says so.

My religious and political ideals are two separately formed belief systems. And most importantly, neither of my beliefs invalidate the other.

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