About Kyle Cruz

Kyle Cruz is a senior majoring in integrated international studies with double minors in journalism and religious studies. Before studying abroad at the University of Haifa International School in Israel for the 2011-2012 school year, he was a columnist for TKS. At the University of Haifa, he worked as a marketing intern. In the past, Kyle has also interned with the Philippine Senate, The Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights and World Vision Cambodia. Kyle is co-founder of Knox’s Fusion Theology Journal and has had columns published in Catch magazine.

A thought on labor and courage

Every good story labors to unpack, unfold and hopefully resolve a central point of conflict or tension. Never a story has been told that rode exclusively on the silken waves of optimism and good humor. In this world, adversity and suffering is the board, and we are the players. As we roll the die and trudge along, we quickly realize that true victory, like true life, is only satisfying because it is achieved always within a whisper’s shot of possible defeat and death.

In the wild, we see this idea play itself out on a daily basis. Just as the antelope’s narrow escape from the jaws of the leopard inspire inward exhilaration, so too do we applaud a female cheetah who, after days of hunting, manages to snag a meal just in time to stave off hunger for her two pups.

Like the female leopard, Knox students, I assume, understand that indeterminate form and sensation of pain that grabs us inwardly when we consider what is at stake for that next exam, term paper or ensuing honors deadline. Part of us titillates at the thought of doing well, while another part recoils in fear at the prospect of failure; certainty, after all, is only an illusion egged on by the desire to feel secure.

Regardless of how we feel, we must accept uncertainty and follow our prey, our goal, relentlessly. Every botched attempt and injury will leave us weaker, but they only prime us to arrive at the breakthroughs more grateful than if we had sidestepped difficulty with a silver spoon in our mouth. A victory that did not almost turn into defeat is no victory at all; without odds, we would not be aware of our evens.

Misfortune may seem to grow in random patches, but the same can be said of the good in our lives. As Christ said of God in Matthew 5:45, “For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Let us be courageous enough to be thankful for both the curses and the gifts of life. This morning, I almost didn’t get up, but God reminded me that I have to keep moving forward and let the chips fall wherever they may. He’ll take care of the rest. The courage to will ourselves to keep going is so hard to come by, and yet we need more of it, not less.

I have yet to find a better exposition of courage than G.K. Chesterton’s in his classic, Orthordoxy. He sums up everything I wanted to say so classy-like.

“Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die. “he that will lose his life, the same shall save it,” is not a piece of mysticism for saints and heroes. It is a piece of everyday advice for sailors or mountaineers. … This paradox is the whole principle of courage; even of quite earthly or quite brutal courage. A man cut off by the sea may save his life if he will risk it on the precipice. He can only get away from death by continually stepping within an inch of it. A soldier surrounded by enemies, if he is to cut his way out, needs to combine a strong desire for living with a strange carelessness about dying. He must not merely cling to life, for then he will be a coward, and will not escape. He must not merely wait for death, for then he will be a suicide, and will not escape. He must seek his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it; he must desire life like water and yet drink death like wine” – (Orthodoxy 94)

May we dare to live lives of courage, not to take it easy on ourselves, but to plow through regardless of the weather.

Productivity on Pub Night

Pub Night turned out to be Pub Morning/Afternoon this fine Fall Institute Day. Editors trickled in starting 9 a.m, instead of 4 p.m. I came in at 10:30 a.m. and briskly dealt with the remaining articles waiting to be edited online. I expected us to be finished around 7 or 8 p.m. But we are still here. Not that I mind. I actually get a lot of logistical stuff done when I’m in the publication office. There’s something about having to stay in one place that makes me focus better. Or, it must be the buzz of intellectual energy in the room that keeps me energized, as we mechanically put together a respectable newspaper out of a variety of articles, some of which are well-written, but most of which require a polish or two. Either way, I’ve come to enjoy pub nights because one can’t help wake up Thursday morning without feeling accomplished; that is, provided that I get the bulk of my week’s work done before and after Wednesday.

critiqued + complimented = flattered

I consider myself a decent writer but I rarely expect to be noticed, much less complimented, by people out of the blue. My discourse article for this week is called, “Sunshine Project: China’s new approach to drug problems.” It explores the Chinese government’s innovative approach to tackling drugs particularly in the southwestern province of Guizhou. Instead of punishing drug addicts with prison terms and forced rehabilitation as it has done in the past, the government passed a law in 2008 that allows drug users to avoid harsh consequences provided they voluntarily seek help from authorities or the health care system (I’ll tell you more but just read the article).

Anyway, about an hour after the Discourse section editor, Samantha Paul, posted my article online, I received an e-mail from a Peace Corp volunteer who actually lives and works in Guizhou. Although he did point out a factual error I overlooked, his comments were mostly positive. I am honored to have to someone say that my article sticks mostly to the true circumstances in a place I have never myself been to.

Generally speaking, I suck at accepting compliments because I think it is so easy to start believing what people say about you even if they don’t know who you are. But this time around, I didn’t mind the compliment. We work hard at TKS not just as editors but as writers, so a word of encouragement now and again is most welcome any time of the day. Keep ’em coming.

FYI, the most interesting part about this uncanny encounter is that the person who contacted me is not in any way affiliated with Knox College. He just happened to find my article after his Google Feed – which he calibrated to filter in non-local news about Guizhou – directed his attention to my article.

Musings of a senior

The hectic pace of senior year makes every activity, however mundane or seemingly conducive to relaxation, a chore. From the moment I wake up, my mind starts to preoccupy itself with what the day has in store, from the pile of clothes I just put into the dryer, to the never ending set of meetings and correspondences that have to be made.

Even daily prayer and the intake of God’s Word have declined in precedence because I am oft-too tired to get up in the early morning; and at night, my mind is dismally out of focus. There just is not enough daylight! I marvel at how quickly the fresh canopy smell of the morning dissipates like a mist, giving way to the moldy scent of evening and night. Still, I do not resent the fullness of my schedule. Better to have the mind and body taxed for purposeful things than to let it waste away thinking of things to do.

So inspired was I by the thought of life as constant activity that this clumsy limerick pushed itself onto a word page I had opened:

The life of a Knox senior sucks,

Some days I just feel out of luck.

Cause my schedule is full,

And my pillow’s got drool,

And I almost get hit by a truck.

(The last line is not true of me, but of someone else I do not know. A friend saw this unknown person get hit – must have been a senior preoccupied with something).

Working for The Knox Student is a new experience. I have enjoyed my tenure so far because the logistics of everything are so expertly handled by the higher-ups. The first official issue of the newspaper is in the works, which means that the following two nights will be spent carefully sifting through piles of articles.

Copy editing is not as easy as it sounds. I like to think that copy editors are the first line of defense. We man the trenches as enemies of poor structure, awful punctuation, biased writing and general BS try to get past. Though the enemy outnumbers us, the intersecting crisscross trajectory of our machine gun fire will be sure to cut many down. If that does not finish the job, our batons – that is, our pens – are filed to a delicate and deadly point.