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Why Does It Take So Long...?

What does it take for me to remember all that I have at my own disposal to both protect myself and protect the learning environments for those in my care? Why does it take me so long, even well into my sixth decade of life?

I arrived home yesterday from a beautiful day of writing and grading, triggered as all-get-out and yet somehow unable to understand the what, how, when, and why of it all. Strangely, it was a beautiful time, even though I was grading. I was stunned at how good the mid-term papers were for my summer online class, given I have witnessed the challenging discussions on a new technological discussion-platform some of my colleagues really want us to consider using regularly at United. Which means I’m witnessing the social-media-esque communication habits and styles so prevalent today. [Image: Author: DALL-E; prompted by Haoreima, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons--Yairipok Thambalnu — The Unlucky Meitei Maiden — Sacrificed to the Water God Wangpulen to stop the great flood of the Imphal River & her tributaries in Kangleipak Kingdom (Manipur) — Her death brought back peace]

Most are respectful, living their Christian faith with integrity in “speech that is pleasant” and such (Colossians). Two, however–with one clearly in the lead–have been contemptuous, disdainful, disrespectful and damaging ultimately to the learning environment. Contemptuous language directed at me. Passive-aggressive accusations of me, of the class material, anger that the class even exists as a required course. No respect, honoring one another's dignity, getting curious about a Godde larger than their own egos.

I know this reactivity goes on every semester with United students, particularly with the most conservative, the most rigid, and–in my experience of them–the most insecure in their faith. Before this new platform for discussion, I simply never had to witness it, take it into my own stewardship of the space. In previous renditions of the course, I was able to weave an honoring of students’ words, navigating their fears and misunderstandings with weekly response videos. Most eventually came around to a (begrudging) respect of someone they disagreed with yet could love anyway. How to love Jesus more and be loving with others at the same time (I often joke).

It took me nearly seven weeks to figure out how to neutralize the damage done by this student, potentially two students. Seven weeks. Yellowdig does provide tools to the administrator to neutralize inappropriate or incendiary content, poured into the space by unskilled and inhospitable participants. I remembered it this morning, seven weeks and 18 hours into the next round of triggered reactivity in me. WTF?

Brian and I even mused together…why was this getting under my skin so fully? Why give such inappropriate-caustic unChristian behavior so much power? True…

  • I’ve been writing one of the most significant-for-my-healing books…vulnerable, always.

  • Our political world terrifies me, with this very charged language/reactivity, most often expressed by Evangelical Christians, conceptually violent and unloving, yet in the name of Jesus. Vulnerable feelings.

  • As a professional woman in a toxic-masculine field, I’ve taken this kind of shit for decades, always using my best jujitsu to minimize the pain and maximize standing for success in my job. Longstanding woundedness in me.

Maybe I’m finally approaching the capacity to say ENOUGH. It’s not worth it, staying in such proximity to people/ignorance who have wounded me for decades.

Or perhaps I could simply improve my response-time in saying ENOUGH. Sheesh…

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