Et Cetera is Regent College’s weekly paper of miscellany, featuring opinion, news, poetry, fiction and more. It is published weekly by the Regent College Student Association.

Editor | Jolene Nolte
Copy Editor | Angelos Kyriakides

Fall Issue 5

Fall Issue 5

I Have to Pee Again

A Meditation

By Allysen Mahaffey

(Inspired by Can’t and Won’t: Stories by Lydia Davis)

I have to pee again.

I think it's because of the coffee. Or is it the excessive amounts of water? 

I just peed a few minutes ago, but I have to pee again. Did I not fully empty my bladder? 

I just started my assignment and do not want to get up again, but I have to pee again. 

I am so comfortable in my bed and ready to fall asleep, but I have to pee again. 

We are in the middle of the movie. I will need to pause it. Because I have to pee again. 

I am waiting for my therapist to get me from the lobby for my appointment that is only 50 minutes, but what if, in the middle of it, I have to pee again? 

I prefer the window seat on this flight, to see the mountains and the beach, but I chose an aisle seat. What if I have to pee again? 

I had decaf coffee with dessert tonight. Dang, maybe that is why I have to pee...again. And again.

I am peeing more than usual tonight. Is it the wine? The water in between the wine? Ah, I have to pee. Again. 

We are on a class break. I have to pee again. 

After we take communion at church, I will sneak out the side of the stage so that I can pee again. 

We just finished eating. I will pee, again, in case the bus ride home takes too long.


Samson

By Erica Bowler

Teens hate doing what they’re told.

Samson, from the days of old,

Was just the same as a lad.

His Mum’s rules drove him mad!

Some of them were common sense, 

Like ‘do not walk upon a fence.’ 

Others gave Samson strife

By limiting his social life.

‘No haircuts,’ was one such rule,

(at the time, dreadlocks weren’t cool)

‘No drinking’ was another one

that stopped ol’ Sam from having fun. 

As often  happens in these cases,

When Sam left home and ditched his braces,

He lived the life of movie stars, 

With sex and drugs and fancy cars.

He went to jail and got in fights,

With Philistines, roving, errant knights.

One such spat occurred in spring

When soldiers were sent by their king

A thousand ‘gainst one – what a doozy!

Sam fumbled for AK and uzi,

But he had left them ‘neath his bed

So he grabbed a jawbone up instead. 

Samson biffed and he bashed and he knocked them all out,

Philistines lay with their tongues sticking out.

The job done, and, not wanting to stay,

Sam drank from a stream, and went on his way. 

The next day Sam’s mum rang him up,

She’d heard about him from Mayor Flupp. 

“I heard you creamed those godless guys –

good job – that was a nice surprise!

Sam, my son, - love, do you know

How you could beat up all your foe?”

“I figured, when I was just a kid

I fell into potion like Obelix did.” 

“No!” Said his mum, in almost a hiss.

“If you want to know why, the secret is this:

It’s your hair: be sure to keep it long

if you want to remain mighty and strong.

Now – this is the last rule I’ll ever make:

Guard your secret. Then life’ll be a piece of cake.” 

“O.K.” Sam said. “Bye mum – I’ve got a date tonight.

It’s in Gaza at eight, and it’s gonna be tight.”

The Philistines were lying in wait

At Gaza, they trapped Sam inside the gate.

Before they could pounce, Sam went to the wall

He grabbed the doors, posts, bars and all. 

He wrenched up and carried them away 

To the top of a hill, where they rest to this day.

Now, naturally, with these dramatic displays,

There was ‘Sam’ merchandise all over those days:

‘Samson’ shoes and shirts, water bottles and wigs,

Were all sold in the market beside the sweet figs.

A great gaggle of giggling, goggling girls

Followed Samson around with kisses and curls. 

Sam fell in love with one of these chicks,

a gal called Delilah Dolores Dipsticks.

However, Sam didn’t know that this dame

Was seeking both fast fortune and fame,

and had a nefarious, mendacious aim.

Miss D had a pact with the Philistines, 

who were tired of getting beaten up all the time. 

They offered her money in exchange for one perk:

Sam’s secret, so they could get rid of the jerk!

D winkled and whined and she whinged and she wept,

And she begged Sam to tell her the secret he kept. 

“Sammy,” she’d say “what makes you so strong?

I thought you loved me, or have I been wrong?” 

Each time she asked, he’d make up a tale: 

“If you tied me with bowstrings, I’d be weak as a snail.” 

Then, while he slept, she did as he said,

But when Philistines came, Sam bashed in their heads. 

“You don’t love me!” she wailed, “You don’t trust me at all!” 

And she nagged and she nagged and drove Sam up the wall. 

He told her to use new ropes and hair,

But when Sam smelled Philistines stench in the air,

He snapped the ropes as if they weren’t there! 

At this point, you’d think Sam should have known

That Delilah was rotten right to the bone.

But he was too thick, or per’aps didn’t care,

So he told her the secret about his hair. 

“My dreads,” he said, “have never been cut.” 

This time Delilah knew in her gut

That this was the truth, so she called up the guys. 

Then she chopped off Sam’s hair and they gouged out his eyes.

For, once Samson had been sneakily sheared, 

His amazing strength had disappeared!

They kept him in chains, paraded him about,

At every feast, Sam’s foes brought  him out

And they laughed and they crowed at the man they had feared

But they didn’t notice his hair and his beard

Were starting to grow: thick and long and wild

But Samson had, and so he smiled. 

Samson was sorry for his failings and crimes,

He prayed God would give him strength one last time. 

One day, in a temple, Sam’s strength came right back

He pushed down the pillars with a great ‘CRACK!!!’

The whole place collapsed like a paper hat

And the Philistines and Sam were all squashed flat. 

The moral of this story glum

Is ‘always listen to your mum.’

Artwork by Erica Bowler

Artwork by Erica Bowler


The Loneliness of Longing

By Steven Gomez

Dear God,

We haven’t spoken in some time. As lonely as it’s felt, it feels awkward trying to talk to You again. At once the desire to talk the way we used to, and a desire to shrink back and keep in my own corner.

Because desire, longing, yearning—this is what’s on my mind. Not all of my desires are good ones, but I would hope that some of them are. I would hope that some of them are even desires that You have for me.

Your church tells me—in sermon after book after lecture—that all of my desire is meant to be turned towards You. But I’ve come to realize that I don’t know what that means at all, though I’ve heard it for years and always nodded along.

It seems to me that desiring You also requires us to desire other things as well. We should be desiring to love other people, for one, longing for their well-being and provision. We should long for this for the very simple reason that You long for it. You have made all of us for Yourself, not only me, and long to give good things to Your children. To desire You, to turn our hearts towards longing for You, means that our desires will inevitably be aligned with Yours, and so we will inevitably desire things besides Your relationship and love (though never instead of them).

Yes, time erodes, and the desires of this life seem like mud compared with the eternity that will one day be. But You have still made the mud and time, not to mention this heart of mine that longs and desires and yearns for the mud as much as the sublime.

The desire You have to bless Your children would seem to include me; and so is there a way to desire things for myself without falling into selfishness? I suppose there can be if they’re good things as well as things You want. I can desire righteousness and blamelessness, for instance, without necessarily doing wrong since I want to be free from sin to please You—always balanced against the equal desire to not be a Pharisee about it, of course.

A lifetime of being told I must only desire You keeps me from asking You for my desire. What makes my mouth fill with cotton when I long to pour out my heart even with those I trust the most, let alone the One I should trust the most?

There is an inherent loneliness to longing. It is intensely private, hidden in the depths of the heart under what can be many layers of protection. Even when desire is expressed, no one will feel quite like I do about it. Desire is quite probably as unique as a fingerprint, since it is so deeply a part of me and if we take for granted that every person is a unique individual. If true, then it would mean that no one desires quite the same things or in quite the same way. This would mean that, in human terms, I am alone in my desire. It would take a much wiser and deeper philosopher than I to find out if it really is true. But this much I can say: desire, being so intensely personal, at least feels very lonely.

This loneliness is only intensified when I realize that to desire something is to recognize and state its absence. To say we want more of You, God, is to say we only have some of You, and not enough to satisfy us at that. To know how much I long for something is to know how sharp is the pain of its lacking. Desire itself is often the cause of greatest heartbreak.

Which makes me realize that even desire for You is something that belongs to brokenness. Even if I knew that all of my desires were ordered correctly, and placed You at the centre of all of them, they would still tell how imperfect I am because of the need that stands unfulfilled: the need for You. And the reality that You and I are just as separate as ever.

Why did You give me my desires? Why do You ask me to trust You to fulfill them when it seems as if You only snatch them away? Are my desires really so soiled that they are not worth having, even if they are not eternal? Surely you would not refuse us desire, even temporary and fleeting ones.

Surely not.

Not the God who came to earth,

dancing with us in the mud.

How could you not desire

joys of mud for us? 

Fall Issue 4

Fall Issue 4