I have been teaching about the rise and fall of ancient civilizations for six years. I have found my students to be avid, excited learners about the development of civilization around the world.  I also learn as new ideas bubble inside of me when connections are made between content areas…for example, the transfer of energy.

While it might be obvious to some, I recently realized that power in civilization is not created, but transferred, as energy is.  As one civilization is crumbling into dust another is growing in fresh, fertile earth.  Concepts such as religion, government, and economics develop as necessary and often sound familiar.

It is no great surprise that as corruption infiltrates and festers in a civilization, the poor masses struggle to maintain integrity in the form of feeding their children daily bread. Consider Rome…it thrived on deceit from its ‘glory days’, when twin boys fight each other to the death over the name of their newly created city.  Is it coincidence that twin boys fought to the death in the Old Testament over a similar prize, that being possession? I am struggling to consider what is truth and what isn’t in historical recording.  The theme of good versus evil is ever-prevalent. Some nights my head swirls with the parallels in history. its as if I am trying so desperately to find an answer to an unknown question; something there but just out of reach. 

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I am going to give this blog thing another go-round.  Practicing what I preach. 

I was reading WIllie Nelson and had a memory about the boys’ dorm across the street from mine at CSR.  We were sure it was haunted.  We heard strange noises and objects were often moved…one day a jar of jelly just fell on the floor in Paul’s room and it looked like it literally hovered in the air before it fell.  Our dorm was thought to be haunted as well. It had a chapel in it, with a pretty stained glass window and the whole house was filled with dark woodwork.  Creaky stairs…it was once a mortuary, either before or after the nuns lived there.  One evening several of us were in the chapel, which had been converted into our common area.  We were watching TV, and a girl who lived in the next dorm who was known to be a lesbian became ill almost as soon as she sat down.  We were all convinced she had been struck down by the dead nuns.

Other random memories…Frank and green jello.  He would beg us to dare him to drink the little creamers.  Many times he would show up at the cafeteria and beg me to add jello to my tray.  He was living off-campus and was pretty much starving.  Sunday morning brunch when we would all stumble into the dining hall hungover, craving those runny scarmbled eggs loaded with ketchup, cold toast and coffee that was sometimes weak and watery and other times strong enough to gag us.

Even now, almost twenty-five years later, I still have a terrible dream that I did not pass that public speaking class with Sister St. Hillaire.  She comes and takes my diploma from me, telling me I failed because I did not come to class regularly.  The nuns had a way of triggering feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness in me that is the root of my Catholic upbringing.  Today, going to Mass is like self-flagellation; I love the punishment.  Maybe that is why organized religion is so hard for me to grasp.