Learning to take the Good with the Bad

Hi Again,

You  might be surprised at another new update so soon when I just blogged a couple days ago and it usually takes me 12 days, but I just feel like I have a lot going on and a lot to say today.  So you get to read some more. I’m not going to tell you about Florence just yet, because there’s some other stuff on my mind at the moment and I feel like my blog is a good place to put it.

This week has been a tough one, folks.  Monday I was just kind of in a funk, as I told you in my last post.  I’ve successfully contracted a head cold or something like it, I’m tired, I’ve got no real motivation to do my school work, and I’ve been feeling as though something just isn’t right. This morning in class, I found out what that something was. Our group of kids studying abroad, about 60 of us, is split into three groups for Art History class, with three separate professors and three separate meeting times.  Last Thursday, one of the professors didn’t show up to teach his class.  He didn’t tell the kids he wouldn’t be there, and he didn’t let any of the faculty know.  Today we found out that Terry had been missing since Wednesday.  After finding a note in his apartment, saying simply, ‘I’m sorry, but I can no longer be alive,’ a search began. It was determined that he had driven his car to one of his favorite spots up in the mountains, gotten out, walked an hour or so, and then ended things.  I never met the man, but I’ve only heard the best things.  He’s worked with the Iowa State Rome Program for over 13 years. All of his students loved him and always looked forward to his lectures and walking tours throughout Rome.  One of our teachers said he met Terry for the first time just last week at the theater, had drinks with him, visited for a long while, Terry talked about all the great things he had going for him, and the bright things in his future–just four short days later it was all over.  No one can understand why he would make this choice, but hopefully it brought some sort of peace for him now.

I’ve never been in this sort of situation, where someone has taken their own life and I’ve been able to see the real quakes it has made.  What happens now? What happens with his family? What happens with his class, will it be divided into the other sections? How will it be graded? What happens to his friends? I’ve already seen the effects it has had on my teachers–some of them had been close friends for 13 years, they’re heart broken.  His students are heartbroken. I’ve even shed a few tears and I never got the opportunity to meet the man.  Tonight there will be a memorial service in his honor at our studio.  I’m going in support of my friends who knew him, and because I know it’s the right thing to do. There will be wine and bread shared, it will be treated as a celebration of life, and rightly so.

As sad and unfortunate as this has been, it is also a learning experience, as all things are.  As sorry as I’ve been feeling for myself lately, look how much I have to be thankful for.  I’ve got it so good–I’ve got a Savior who’s given His life so that I might live, I have a family who loves me, I have the best friends anyone could ask for, and a life that is and will continue to be so rewarding, even on the days when I might think it’s not. Every day is a gift, so who am I not to receive it with a grateful heart?

That’s all I’ve got for now.  Have a good one, and be sure to hug the ones you love. I wish I could right now.


Romans 5 says,

but we[c] also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.


6 responses to “Learning to take the Good with the Bad

  1. So sorry to hear about the professor. We “feel” for you, think positive and keep smiling.

  2. Jeni,
    You are a very strong person. Your family and your faith have given you a strong foundation that will sustain you through times like this.
    It is difficult to understand the things that might bring someone to take their own life. Stay focused on what is good.

    A. Sandy

  3. Jeni,

    I am so proud of you for placing your hope in the things “not of this world”. We can’t always understand why bad things happen, but I want to encourage you to continue to “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 We all know that God has great things in store for you!

    Love & miss you!

  4. i wish i could hug you too.

  5. Debi Helgren (Iowa's Mom)

    Hi, Jen, I’m having a slow morning here at work, so I’ve just spent the past hour and a half reading your blog from the beginning. I didn’t know (although Harlan did) that you were in Rome this semester. I found your site when I was on Erin’s site yesterday. Anyway, it sounds like each day/week/weekend is better than the one before, with the exception of the passing of the instructor. As your aunt and your sister have said, your faith and your trust in God your Father, and your savior, his son Jesus Christ, will bring you through this. Your photos are wonderful! Your stories are wonderful! I think I saw that someone commented you could work as a comedian/writer if the design thing didn’t work out and I think they’re right! I am going to chastise your parents for not making us aware of your blog. Harlan and I are so glad you are our goddaughter; we are very proud of you; we miss seeing you nearly every day, as well as seeing your folks! I know, we’re the ones who moved … 😦 Anyway, enjoy the rest of your trip.
    We love you! Debi and Harlan

  6. Good talking with you this morning! Keep the faith, Baby! I know it’s a boost to get comments from your folks and your friends, so I hope they keep rolling in for you. Lots of work on projects and studying makes it hard to write a blog, so keep your priorities, as you have, and write when you can! Love you this much!!

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