Today in Social Work class we began with some group activities. There were icebreaker type questions which involved dividing into groups. Our Prof happily took on the task of dividing us up into groups of four.
The first couple of questions were fairly unnerving. Despite our Prof’s goal to “get us to know ourselves” and “speak freely” in her classroom, we all spoke stiffly and stereotypically of what the department had programmed us to say since our first Social Work class. Equal opportunity. Service for all regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual preference (that one makes me cringe in all reality), age… whatever you want to add on to the monotonous list of accepted life styles that we have been trained to spout off.
Then the second round of questions began. And tension began to grow in the room. I played my regular role of “shut up and pretend to be interested” as heated opinion clashes plagued the once-peaceful environment. As far as I know no one has won another’s opinion by arguing that they are wrong. Who am I to start such arguments?
Rash, irresponsibly emotional statements flew from side to side as two distinct sides of an issue arose. The issue? Ironically, marriage. One side argued that marriage was a wonderful union. The other, and louder side, argued that marriage meant nothing in society anymore. You could just cohabit, make babies, and be on your way, reaping child support and maintaining independence. One voice rang above the others, “Well if you think that marriage is only to gain the benefits of taxes, then you are so wrong, girl. You’re missing so much cause marriage is so much more.” I couldn’t agree with the voice more until it erred in making emotional defenses, “And you may like cohabiting, but I love my husband, but I don’t want to go to Hell for him.” The mention of Hell added a strange tension to the room. “Moving on,” the Prof joked nervously as the tension was cut with various knives.
The conversation bounced from defense to defense as once-respectful students began to throw flaming arrows at each other. I stared forward, in no-where-ville, blocking out the chaos for a moment. “Well marriage has no benefit anymore. There’s no point. People just have sex anyway.” One frustrated student announced to the classroom [and the surrounding hallway].
“Well, that’s true, but some may think marriage is still the thing for them. So, I say let them get married. And if you want to have children with your significant other and cohabit for the rest of your life, then I say do it.” My professor popped in her opinion to appease both shouting matches.
I felt Laura’s eyes searching for mine. I looked up from my “respectfully listening” position to find the eyes of the distraught Christ-follower. I smiled my “it’ll all be ok. But this one’s not our battle to fight verbally in a big group” smile. The tension fled from Laura’s eyes.
I looked down at my engagement ring.
I missed Matt.
I still miss Matt.