I have, throughout my college and adult life, taken a strong stand against the overuse of hugs and exclamation points.
To me, a hug is not a greeting, but a very intimate statement of heartfelt love or compassion. They are given freely at points of crisis or celebration of the milestones of life, but they are not dispensed otherwise (by me, anyway). They are hundred dollar bills as opposed to ones or fives. You hand out your Franklins as you wish, but I’ve never felt that wealthy.
Exclamation points are similarly abused in the world of grammar!!! <––– Like that. If one means I mean it, or am accentuating the point, or I’m excited about something, wouldn’t three or four suggest a heart-attack, stroke or aneurysym? It would certainly be unhealthy. Further, ending multitudes of neighboring sentences this way suggests a mental breakdown of some sort; an unsustainable deluge of emotion. If a reader reads it correctly, they would surely be exhausted. With all this said, forgive me for my anticipated use of punctuation in this post. This one is difficult to confess.
“Mendacium” is the latin for a lie; a falsehood; a deception. The reader may have noticed if you have followed my autobio thus far, that while I was raised as a Christian, by wonderful, loving, Christian parents, and I was baptized at an early age, real doubts took their hold on me in early college (labo = I waver). This was a struggle that was working out all throughout college (christus =Christ & congregamini = a coming together). So what about my relation to other friends and christians in the meantime? Sadly, mendacium. How could I admit to everyone in my world that I, mr. fellowship of christian students, active church member in college, and generally vocal Christian, was falling to, or had fallen to, spiritually crippling doubts? I believe the college minister at my church detected it, but I don’t know who else ever did. I even led a Bible study, but in hindsight, that made sense on one hand and exacerbated the lie on the other. Arrogantly, I called it “God’s Bible Study.” What a jackass! I called it this because there were several “BSU Bible Study” groups around campus, and I wanted to distinguish this one from those. I specifically invited people with beliefs that did not fit into the BSU mold, pretending it was a mission when I really I fit more squarely into that group that I was admitting. I think the BSU people saw through it… but they were so huggy that I couldn’t attend there either.
I was, however, searching for some truth though, and where the BSU celebrated the fellowship enjoyed in their conclusions, I and the people in my group were still dealing with whether the premises were acceptable as axioms.
So there I was, hanging out and leading a Bible study, with wiccans, atheists, animists, and one guy who insisted he would only come if he could smoke whatever he wanted while there. He became a dear friend! Several of them did. I learned from this that I was more comfortable with people like this than I was with the people who greeted me with a hug and then criticized me for my choices in “christian” vs. “secular” music, or took issue with the translation of bible that I read. Come to think of it, it was a known “sinner” who accepted me and taught me to be comfortable in my own skin in high school. (deus patria ipse) “God’s Bible Study” premised itself on the basic Vacation Bible School idea that if you put a candle (truth) in a dark room (confusion or untruth), the light will overpower the dark and people will recognize it. From my view, I was testing this theory, for myself and for the other participants. Everyone was allowed to state their thoughts and questions in a mutual search for the light. Amidst my doubts, I was placing the proverbial candle of the “truths” I had been taught in the middle of the circle.
I presented as a Christian. I wasn’t at the time. These friends helped me through the struggle. “Sinners” – the “godless” even – have often helped me come closer to God. They still do. I just have to have enough humility to listen to them, learn from them, and not call them “godless,” given the fact that they too are made by Him and in His image. I am still working on that. The biggest key to learning from people is to remember that you CAN learn from them. I accepted that, so I was comfortable with and accepted by the pot-smokers, gay friends (no – I wasn’t and am not gay! – though accused of it many times), and admitted thieves. We all recognized our depravity. The biggest difference between me and them was that I “behaved better” (didn’t drink, smoke etc. – you get it) and went to church every Sunday.
But there is a wise old saying: “a man will hate the person to whom he must lie.” By mid-college, given my ebb and flow of depression, my ebb of faith, and the flow of mendacium, I needed an escape. That’s where Dr. Mary Bowman came in.