I am from…

I’ve written about some of the Community and Spirituality nights in the past (The Perfect Heart comes to mind) and how great they are for community and personal growth. This past week’s Spirituality Night, led by Amanda and Stacey, was no different.

They led off with a meditation centering around self examination regarding our values, regrets, loves, risks, sufferings, influences, achievements, and the people who have made considerable impacts on our lives (read: Mom and Dad).

They ended the meditation with this quote from John Powell, SJ:

“To reveal myself openly and honestly takes the rawest kind of courage”

With our meditation and this quote in mind, they asked us each to write a poem with each line beginning with “I am from…” to share with the community.

Here’s what I wrote:

I am from unconditional love.

I am from Holden, Massachusetts.

I am from a mother’s sacrifice, a father’s hard work, and both of their love and care.

I am from a brother’s trust and good spirits.

I am from family stepping up for me when I didn’t know the difference.

I am from Chaffins Elementary and Mountview Middle.

I am from countless homework assignments, tests, recesses, and teachers who cared.

I am from support, encouragement, and acceptance.

I am from smelly locker rooms, dusty dugouts, somewhat-grassy fields, summer camps, and stuffy gyms.

I am from great opportunity, luck, and “putting the nose to the grind stone”.

I am from oldies in the car, summer buzz-cuts, backyard football, and dodging support posts during basement hockey.

I am from family struggle and great family harmony.

I am from freshly cut grass, dirty knees, and hot chocolate after sledding.

I am from big smiles, big hugs, and even bigger smiles.

I am from reading, watching, hearing, and experiencing.

I am from laying in bed late at night, not sleeping, and simply thinking.

I am from the people around me.

I am from camaraderie, brotherhood, Poker Nights, and being a St. John’s young man.

I am from Call of Duty with Lionshead, 2 hour college dinners, and Nova Nation.

I am from missed opportunities, mistakes, and regrets.

I am from teamwork, picking up the pieces and pressing onward.

I am from JVC, Baltimore, Arrupe House, and Cristo Rey Jesuit.

I am from wanting better and wanting more.

I am from standing on the shoulders of giants.

I am from unconditional love.

Where are you from?

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5 Responses to I am from…

  1. christamarzan says:

    Great post, Tom. You have to remember your past to become the person you’re supposed to be. Sometimes, people can forget about the people and places that made them who they are, which is a shame. This sounds like it was a great way to reflect on who you are and where you want to go in your life. Sounds very Jesuit like also haha. Thanks for sharing!

    -C

    PS: Are you the boy on the left in the picture?

    • Tom O'Keefe says:

      Definitely, Christa, and very Jesuit-like. I think they actually got the meditation from Hearts on Fire: Praying with the Jesuits. So there you go!

      And no! I’m on the right!

  2. christamarzan says:

    I think I have that Hearts on Fire book from when I did Campus Min at Loyola. Good stuff there! I knew it was some kind of Jesuit thing though…gotta love ’em, right?

    And ahhhhh my bad! I can see it now haha. I think it’s so funny how diff we look from when we were kids- I know I don’t look the same at all lol.

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