I am fortunate to engage with hundreds of students each year, meet many of their families and continue to nurture these relationships in the years following college as the Director of the Chabad House at Brandeis University.
What’s moving to me is experiencing the evolvement of a relationship as the student grows older, develops his or herself, and gets comfortable in their skin. When they maturely interact with life’s responsibilities, commit to a long term relationship, and even have their own children, their understanding of life deepens and our relationship can become more balanced as we share in life’s nuanced and enriching experiences.
When Ariella Morrow ‘06 shared her story of sexual assault on social media she was in my thoughts and heart for a few days. We hadn’t stayed in touch consistently and as someone who hadn’t experienced this trauma I was hesitant to ask her to record a podcast with me. Still I reached out, asking her to share her experiences as I also understood that she isn’t letting this assault define her. Rather now as an older woman, doctor, wife and mother, she would be able to share how she navigated life’s challenges and immersed herself in the wholesomeness of life. Even more, how this made her into a strong woman and enriched her faith.
Life is layered, nuanced, and far from black and white, and this kind of conversation is so critical to engage in. Ariella’s life is not defined by this trauma, it’s part of her story. Our lives are filled with varied experiences and when we have the courage to engage with the most difficult ones, with thoughtfulness and wisdom, we can truly grow and others can be moved to do the same.