“The Problem of Evil” by Peter Kreeft – Analysis

Evil is a very commonly used word, defined by Google’s dictionary as “profoundly immoral and malevolent.” Evil is such a common term that people lose faith in God because of it. In Peter Kreeft’s work, “The Problem of Evil,” he describes the “problem” found with evil: the question of why God would allow evil to occur in His creation. Peter Kreeft explains why evil exists and provides evidence for his reasoning, based on all that humans know about God. Providing descriptions based on free will, God’s love, and the concept of hell, Peter Kreeft analyzes and considers all there is to consider about evil, and what it says about who God is.

In his writing, Peter Kreeft mentions the concept that humans have free will, and that is a gift given straight from God’s love. God is Love, so it’s only possible for Him to create something out of love. If that’s true, why would God create evil? He didn’t create evil, and that’s Kreeft’s whole point throughout his article. God is Love, and Love is selfless. A selfless God would never want to force anything, so that’s why free will exists. Free will is the ability given to humans to make decisions, live their own lives, and, simply, choose. If God limited this free will the smallest fraction, it would no longer be free will, because all the options of choice aren’t there. In this way, if humans aren’t given the option to do evil, they don’t have free will at all. If humans were forced to make the right decisions every second, every minute, every hour, every day forever, that is not free will: that’s barely even living at all. It’s like a vacuum cleaner. The vacuum cleaner makes the “right choice” by sucking up unwanted particles off of the ground. But that’s not a choice at all, because there’s only one option. So God gives us all the options, including the option of doing evil. Evil is simply one of the choices that humans chose, and choose again and again, because they can.

Kreeft, in his article, discusses more deeply into how God’s love has been used as the tool for dealing with evil. From the moment Adam and Eve sunk their teeth into the forbidden fruit, God has been trying to save humans from sin, the act of evil. He does this not by forcing, but by giving the option to choose good rather than evil. The Bible shows this time and time again. The most obvious of these include the Ten Commandments, which are ten reasonably simple rules for humans to follow, always. Reasonably simple, yes, but humans still disobeyed those simple rules constantly, as a result of their free choice to choose to sin. God didn’t give up on the human race or force them to obey him even after this; rather, He tried, over the whole course of human history, to help people come to Him, and trust in Him. God has never stopped trying to eradicate evil. The most significant example of this is when God the Father sent His son, Jesus, into the world to save people from their evil ways, by being with them as a human. One Human, teaching other humans how they can live and not be a slave to evil. He was mocked, tortured and killed, because He wanted people to choose Him over their evil ways. Jesus’ message has spread all over the world, and it is a good message. Anyone who says otherwise does not yet have an understanding of how significant the message is. The problem with the world in the present is that people firmly believe they will be happier by choosing whatever they want. This makes sense, but because of where free will has led the human race, the line between evil and good has become very blurry. People who do evil often believe that they are doing good. Terrorists terrorize for their idea of “God.” Ideas of sin are different, all because of desires that are contrary to God’s teachings. Since people see God’s teachings as being unimportant, or too hard to follow, God’s rules, made out of love, are ignored. Those who claim evil is because of God are the ones who have simply witnessed what happens when people use free will for evil. They themselves, at one time or another, have likely done evil that they didn’t know was evil. Most people have done this.

It is difficult to talk about evil in the context of religion without discussing hell, which is thought of as the place where “evildoers” go once they die. Kreeft shines some light on this as well, saying, “… hell is the consequence of free will.”  What Peter Kreeft’s writing reflects is how, as a result of free will, there’s no way hell could not exist. As was mentioned earlier, God does not want to force people into choosing “rightly,” so He always gives the right of people to choose between right and wrong: between Him and sin. Because of this, people must have the option to choose other than God, even though God can give them eternal happiness. The result, because of free will, of not choosing God, must be hell. Free will is a gift, but when people use it wrongly, they will face consequences. Revelation 21:8 states, “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” This second death, that comes after the Final Judgement, is a result of free will, and free will is a result of God’s love. God is just, and justice will be reflected in the Final Judgement. Right now, though, humans must use their free will for everything that’s good. God’s love is offered to everyone, it’s just up to everyone to take that offer of love, mercy, and forgiveness and spread it all over the world.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states this: 1033 We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: ‘He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 612 Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren. 613 To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called ‘hell.’” This quote, directly from the Catechism, connects to Peter Kreeft’s message directly, because it shows how humans, using their free will in certain ways, leads them to hell for eternity. The result of Hell has to be the result of the choice(s) of a person, in full knowledge, acting against their conscience and morals to do evil.

I agree with Peter Kreeft in his article, although there is one area I wish he had expanded on. I agree that evil was brought about by creatures of free choice (fallen angels and humans) choosing wrong. God is a good and loving Father, so He wants what is best for all of us, his children on Earth. Humans are given countless opportunities to turn from their sinful ways and follow Jesus, the conqueror of evil. I also agree with Kreeft that hell is the result of free will to outwardly choose against conscience, morality and every sense of good that exists. These explanations are in line with Church teachings, and make sense in the context of the Bible. However, there is one part of Kreeft’s article that readers might interpret a different way than was intended. The part in question is Kreeft’s quote, “God does not cast anyone into hell against his will.” I do not, according to all I’ve read and been taught, believe that upon death the word “please” will get someone into heaven or out of hell, and that’s not what the quote implies either. What the quote means, in context of Church teaching and the Bible, is that people committed their evil acts knowingly doing evil, and  to do such evils can lead to hell. The Bible clearly shows that people will go to hell for eternity. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, and no one, in full knowledge, would wish this on them self either, but people end up there. The Bible does not specify, however, names of people who will end up in hell, so it is our mission as believers to follow God and introduce others to His love and mercy. Perhaps we can help people to be saved from the endless suffering that is hell. This is extremely important for us to do.

Additional Sources:







Figures of Speech From “A Sunrise on the Veld” by Doris Lessing

Personification means “the attribution of a personal nature or human characteristics to something nonhuman, or the representation of an abstract quality in human form.” Doris Lessing uses countless comparisons between humans and other non-humans. Lessing at one point describes the house as “crouching there under a tall and brilliant sky.” She uses this to show just how amazing the sky, or creation as a whole, is compared to a small house. The boy in this story doesn’t crouch against the sky, though, but he feels as though he is greater than it. He even said “I contain the world,” when, quite literally, the sky contains the world, and it doesn’t even realize it’s own beauty. The boy doesn’t realize he is simply as the house is: only a small shape against the vast beauty of creation.

A metaphor is “a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable,” or it can be defined as “a thing regarded as representative or symbolic of something else, especially something abstract.” Doris Lessing uses a metaphor when she writes, for example: “He was a small boy again, kicking sulkily at the skeleton, hanging his head, refusing to accept the responsibility.” This is a metaphor used to describe the fact that when we are young, we don’t like being blamed for something, even if we did it, and don’t want the guilt. When we become older, we still don’t like the guilt, but can become courageous enough to accept when we’ve done wrong. There was a more significant metaphor, though, and it was in the buck that the boy saw dying. The buck was once much like him: free, happy, and healthy, but when it was shot, it found out what agony was. The boy didn’t end up being eaten alive by ants, but something similar could have happened to him. If he got injured out in the woods, there was nothing stopping the ants from eating him, like they ate the buck. The metaphor of the buck and the boy taught him a lesson that he, too, was mortal.

Simile means “a figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind, used to make a description more emphatic or vivid.” Lessing uses simile countless times in this story, but one of them is very relevant to a main theme in this story. When describing the buck before it got shot, Lessing describes it as “Walking like kings and conquerors.” This simile is actually more relevant to the boy, and is more proof that the buck is a representation of the boy. The boy walked and ran “like kings and conquerors” because he thought he had power and control over the world, like he was a king or conqueror, which he wasn’t at all.

Synecdoche means “a figure of speech in which a part is made to represent the whole or vice versa.” Lessing uses this when the story says: “As soon as he stepped over the lintel, the flesh of his soles contracted on the chilled earth.” This is synecdoche because the boy’s feet contracting represent all of humankind contracting to the will of nature. The boy walked from man-made to earth; from what he could control to what he couldn’t control. His body contracts with cold, physically, but it is a sign that man is not in control of what happens in nature, and when one steps onto the earth, away from the man-made, it’s a different place entirely, where unexpected consequences happen to those who believe they are in control.

Irony means “a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often amusing as a result.” The story discusses how the boy feels in control, as evidenced by when he says “I contain the world” and other lines, but the irony is that he leaves his man-made house every morning so he can go and feel free and powerful in the woods, where he has no power at all. Nature wouldn’t bow to him, ever. He would have better fortune trying to rule all of humankind than trying to rule nature, but nevertheless, he is convinced of his control.

Word Craft for “A Sunrise on the Veld,” by Doris Lessing

Lintel means “a horizontal support of timber, stone, concrete, or steel across the top of a door or window.” The word lintel is used once, in the context: “As soon as he stepped over the lintel, the flesh of his soles contracted on the chilled earth.” While this doesn’t seem too important, the word can be interpreted as a figurative “line” that he crosses later in the story. He goes from carefree, ignorant of danger, and prideful, to learning of danger, and realizing the need to accept responsibility. He figuratively “steps over the lintel” from having next to no knowledge of the world, to knowing some of the less pleasant concepts about what the world is really like.

The definition of the word “vigilant” is “keeping careful watch for possible danger or difficulties.” In the story, it describes how the “dark half of his mind” had been “remaining vigilant all night and counting the hours as he lay relaxed in sleep.” He describes himself as vigilant, but actually isn’t as vigilant as he thought he was. Although he is very careful around the house, so his parents don’t find out he’s leaving, the most that would happen is that he’d get in trouble and not be allowed to go back into the woods. When he’s in the woods, he is completely ignorant of any danger, not paying much attention to the fact that if he tripped, some wild beast, or even ants, for that matter, could come and eat what was left of him. He was vigilant where there were no real threats, but wasn’t vigilant at all where it mattered.

The definition of “tumult” is confusion or disorder. The story describes “a tumult of crimson and gold” in the sky, almost as though there is a fight as to which colour will fill the sky. Lessing used this word as a foreboding of what would come, and that there would not just be confusion in the sky, but within the boy, as well. He was so carefree, and sure of his control, so when he found out a buck that was being eaten alive because of his carelessness, there was a “tumult” of feelings inside him, and for the first time, he wasn’t so sure of himself, and the world wasn’t exactly as he thought it was.

Fastidious means “very attentive to and concerned about accuracy and detail.” In the story, the context is: “Standing poised with his hands on the sill for one proudly fastidious moment, looking on at the stuffy blackness of the room where his parents lay.” The boy obviously loved adventure and risk, otherwise he wouldn’t be standing at the window of his parents’ room for so long. He is, however, careful not to wake them up, and is fastidious enough to make sure they don’t find out he’s there. The problem is that he has so much pride and confidence in himself that he doesn’t realize his incapability of perfection. Attention to detail isn’t enough to get everything right, all the time. He doesn’t realize this because he doesn’t pay attention to when he gets something wrong. This made it all the more surprising when he found out that it was likely him who shot the buck in the first place. It was him, who shot carelessly at a faraway buck, and him, who never went to find out if he hit the buck, but instead went home without another thought.

The definition of “incredulously” is “in a manner indicating disbelief.” When the boy was looking at the skeleton of the buck, “He bent over the bones and touched the sockets in the skull, that was where the eyes were, he thought incredulously.” Incredulous very accurately describes the boy when he finally “woke up” and saw what the world was actually like. He thought he had everything figured out, that he had control, and that he couldn’t make a mistake. Then, to his surprise, he realized even the greatest of creatures can get injured, and die. He realized even he could make mistakes, and he had to be responsible for his wrongdoings.

A Break in Hawaii (Five Easy Pieces)

His hands were quite smooth, but strong.
Seemingly huge veins stuck out on the backs of them, from the warmth of the room,
And his short, stubby fingers wore no rings,
But shone from the reflection of the light in the room.

They flew across his keyboard
At a rate that you couldn’t match if you trained for ten years.
When they stopped it was only for a few seconds
And then they kept typing.

The climate of Hawaii is a warm blanket on a winter’s night,
And he hadn’t taken many vacation days that year, so I asked him the question I’d been meaning to.
“Ever been to Hawaii?
“You could use a break from typing for awhile and Hawaii is a warm blanket that just covers you up”

His hands paused as he raised his head to look at me.
"Why do you ask?
“Are you saying I should go to Hawaii because I’m not doing my job well enough,
And so you can find a replacement while I’m gone?"
Of course I didn’t mean that, but he always seemed to misinterpret what I said.

Where Memories Await (Emotional Landscape)

The sunlight shines through the trees, even though they are dense.
Bark peels off of dead trees, remnants of seasons past.
A bird chirps its beautiful song, and flies above me.
The leaves crunch under my feet as I walk, not fast, but not slow.

I walk through the Provincial Park
On trails I know better than my own house.
And as I walk, memories start filling my head
Of events I haven’t thought about in years.

I walk down a hill, and I can’t help but remember
The many times I had fallen skiing down it
When I was younger, and more carefree.
I smile at the joy I used to have.

Just a few feet away I see the ditch by the intersection of the trails.
I remember when it was filled with flowing water,
After it had rained
And we spent time putting sticks in the water, and racing them.

I keep walking, up a small trail in the woods,
Which connects the Walter Scott Trail to the Fescue trail,
And I remember many times walking up this trail,
Even once pushing a bike up it.

Eventually, I make my way home,
My head still filled with adventures long past,
But I know that it isn’t the end of my adventure,
Because my head always has room for new memories.

Revengeful Chaos (First Line Auction Poem)

Society is a harsh whirl of chaos.
The powerful and selfish rule the Earth,
Ignoring those who suffer.
Trust has long since been vanquished.

The word unity seemingly hasn’t been used in centuries.
People must fend for themselves. 
When asked for help, those with the power to help turn their backs
And then leave, without a second thought.

People run to hide.
They stay indoors, and close their curtains
As the gangs come by,
Ready to kill anyone in their way.

A young man grew up in this chaos,
Raised in an environment without hope,
But he developed it on his own
And knew that the he couldn’t just hide away while people were killed.

This young man stands in the path of the killers.
He hides his fear well,
But his left hand twitches violently,
And he shudders all over, frozen in fear.

He tells them that they won’t get past him,
They won’t hurt anyone else.
He lifts his right hand, which was concealed,
And points a gun at the gang.

He hadn’t planned on killing anyone two weeks ago,
But then he saw his sister brutally murdered,
And his father, mad with rage, went to seek revenge.
He was killed too. 

The young man’s finger trembles as it loosely touches the trigger,
And the gang simply laughs at him
As they reveal their own guns,
And open fire.

The man wasn’t just a nobody.
A son, a brother, a friend, a student.
This was his identity,
Ripped away in a moment.

His gun falls, hitting the street loudly, though no one notices the sound
They are too busy noticing the look of despair on the man’s face
As he falls to the ground,
His last thoughts full of failure, guilt, and regret.

He is Here for Us (The Terminal – Found Poem)

I'm about to tell you something,
But it's almost suppertime.
Would you like to get eat to bite?
You'll get really fat with all the food I'm going to give you.

There's a man walking around the terminal in a bathrobe.
That's something a person like you could never understand.
You been spending too much time inhaling them cleaning products.
You watch yourself.

It's Navorski, he's figured out the quarters.
You could learn something from Navorski.
Yes, yes, we all wait,
But Navorski is living at Gate 67.

I need your help finding the truth.
Do you understand? It's a secret.
What's so complicated?
Why is he still here?

Airports are tricky places.
He has to break the law by leaving.
Somebody else can have the pleasure of catching him.
Come on, leave.

This guy is here for a reason.
Do you understand what I am saying to you?
Nobody will die today.
Remember us.

What Happens When One Rushes (Ten Minute Spill)

Rushing will only lead to disaster, and I know this for a fact.
At first woken up by the voice of my mother
Screaming at me to get up.
I fell out of my bed with shock.

The sound of the blender awaited me in the kitchen.
I had to gulp a strawberry smoothie because I didn’t have time to eat.
We went outside and looked up at the lone cloud in the sky,
And then we rushed into the car and away.

It was then that I realized it was Saturday,
And we weren’t going to school.
My mom drove up to the hospital.
I was going to get a needle.

Since I had been hurrying, and afraid of needles
I was panicked, and couldn’t breathe.
I felt like the world was crushing my lungs,
But when the needle stuck in, everything relaxed.

Darkness Will Not Prevail

A red fire burns against a dark sky, blotting out even the stars.
Scales tip unevenly, the illusion of control.
The unjust slaughtered by those who preach of peace.
Everyday life worsened, unbeknownst to those practicing it.
The rich gain and the poor lose, neither of them happy.

That reality I left long ago.
My cabin sits alone on a mountainside, the only one for miles.
Completely at peace, my spirit feeds my body,
But the darkness hides in every corner, every shadow,
And threatens to take control at any moment.

A loud cry of anguish is heard,
From within me or from someone else I do not know.
It grows and grows, from a place of utter despair,
And I can’t ignore it any longer.
I have to go home.

I left through fear and I return through fear.
Fear that I will not be able to fight the darkness within,
So I will fight the darkness from the outside.
Back to the place where it reigns, and the hand of darkness has its grip,
And where those with light hide in fear.

Red smoke hangs in the air.
Nobody is out in the streets, playing, or driving to work.
Everyone is who walks outside does so with purpose.
They go past without a greeting, or even a nod.

I remember these streets, where I would play childish games,
Before the dark clouds had engulfed the world.
Dad used to come to get me when it was time for bed,
But I knew hiding spots I never told him about.
Hiding spots used now to hide drugs.

I will bring the lost to my home, my refuge.
None will be left to suffer.
They will be saved not by me, but by God,
Who guides me.
And is everything opposite of of the darkness in the world.

It is impossible to combat darkness with more darkness.
This only makes matters worse, and encourages the problem,
But when darkness meets light, there is a better match,
And light can rise up in triumph.

Only then can goodness prevail,
And light reign forever.
Never flickering, or covered by a cloud.
But eternal, and unchanging.
Brighter than the sun on a new day.

When Hope Deceives

A short story by Sean Ulrich

“He’s done it this time.” I said to my older brother, Ahmed. It was about 6:00 PM on the 27th of January, 2017. School that day was hard, and I was in a bad mood. I was upset when Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, and worried about being in America as a Muslim. Donald Trump said proudly once that he would ban all Muslims from the country. That day, I was angry that he placed a travel ban preventing my parents from coming to the United States, from Syria. They had been planning on moving here, to New York, for years, and were going to leave on the 30th. We had been preparing for their arrival for a month, but thanks to President Trump, that arrival seemed like wouldn’t happen for a while.

*  *  *

When my brother and I came to America, it was 2012, and the situation was getting out of hand in Syria. My parents told us we were going somewhere safer. I was only twelve at the time, and my brother was sixteen. It was all really confusing to me, and I still don’t understand why they didn’t come with us. We ended up in New York City, where we lived with our uncle, Joram. He had arrived in 2011, to escape before it got way out of hand. He said we could come with him, but my parents thought the conflict would clear up soon. The next year, however, they realized that it wasn’t going to stop within the near future, so they sent us to safety. My parents went through all the procedures and technical stuff for us (which I still don’t completely understand), so we would be legitimate refugees.

*  *  *

“It will work out.” replied Ahmed, “Donald Trump can’t do this; it won’t last long. Mom and Dad will be here before we know it.”

“It’s been five years! We were this close to being a family again, and then he gets elected and separates our family and countless others!”

“Calm down. I’m upset too, but there’s nothing we can do about it for now. We’ve been separated for five years, and as much as I hate to say it, we can wait a bit longer.”

“Okay, but you can expect to see me on the streets protesting the ban very soon.”

“That’s up to you. Just be careful. Those protests can get out of hand.”

Ahmed seemed to never be stressed. He always thought things through, and almost never broke the rules. I was the opposite. I didn’t think much before acting, I got angry over the smallest issues, and was more likely to get into a fight at school, which was a bad thing partly because I never won.

Uncle Joram was working late again. He was really nice, but he wasn’t around too much. He was always working, trying to get enough money for us to survive, so my brother and I had to learn to be independent. Ahmed hadn’t had nearly enough money to go to college, so he was doing what he could by working at a grocery store during the day. Our apartment wasn’t anything fancy, but it had what we needed for the three of us. I felt like once mom and dad came, everything would be sorted out, and we’d all be happy. We all thought that they’d be here soon, but now the president messed everything up.

We waited until Uncle Joram came home around 7:00 PM to eat dinner. By that time, I felt like I was about to die of starvation. Dinner wasn’t too eventful; Uncle Joram asked me how school was, I said it was ok, and he asked Ahmed how work was, and Ahmed said it was okay. We weren’t really the happiest family, because we missed our parents, or, in Uncle Joram’s case, his brother and sister-in-law.

He was also in a bad mood about the travel ban, but I think it went even deeper. I think he secretly felt like a coward because he left before the real conflict started in Syria, and he got out pretty easily. Whenever anything came up about my parents, I think he felt guilty. I didn’t believe that he was a coward; if he hadn’t left at that time, we would have had no place to go.

*  *  *

“You’re very brave, and I need you to be brave even longer. We’re going to send you to live with Uncle Joram in America, okay? Dad and I will come to there soon, so we can be a safe, happy family before you know it. Listen to Ahmed and do what he says. I love you, Fathi.”

Those were the last words spoken to me by my mother before we left Syria. I had time to give my parents a hug and then we had to go. We were put on a plane and flew for a long time to an unfamiliar city. I spent the plane ride thinking about mom and dad, and wondering what they were going to do in Syria without us. I always remembered those words my mom said, and will never forget them.

*  *  *

The next few days were uneventful, but we knew my parents would be worried about the travel ban, just like we were. I went to school, and most people said they supported me and my family, and in social class my teacher called on me and a few other students who were refugees and said that the school was behind us, supporting us. There was one kid, though, who said that it was good Trump made the ban and that I should be deported, too. I tried to tell him I was a citizen, but he wouldn’t listen. We got into a fight and actually won for once, but I got in trouble. The principal told me that he understood I was stressed, but fighting isn’t tolerated in the school. I got an hour of detention after school, and so did the other kid, but I found it unfair because he was the one who started it by being racist in the first place.

When I got home at about 5:00, about to complain to Ahmed, I could immediately tell something was off. Both my uncle and Ahmed were at home, sitting down in the living room. Uncle Joram looked really upset, but Ahmed looked just as confused and worried as I was. Joram looked up at me, and looked at Ahmed.

“What happened?” I asked quietly. Uncle Joram replied.

“I received word, from your mother, that… your father was killed by a terrorist group in Syria.” I dropped into a chair, and Ahmed stared straight ahead. Uncle Joram continued “He wasn’t targeted, but he was in the area when they attacked.”

I got up, said nothing, and went straight to my room. My dad and I were very close when I was growing up. He taught me all sorts of things. I couldn’t believe I ever thought that things could be the same way again. I was angry at myself because I had fallen for the illusion of hope. At that point, I had no hope. I had given up on hope. Hope was never certain. Hope deceives. Hope makes you think that the world will be a happy place and everyone will live in harmony, but then you realize it will never be that way. The world just takes away more and more, until you’re left without anything. That’s how I felt at that time. All I wanted was to be a family again. Was that too much to ask? Just then, I thought about my mom. She had absolutely nothing for her in Syria. Not even her husband. I couldn’t imagine how she’d be feeling. I was focusing on myself, and I didn’t even think of how my mom felt, or my brother, or my uncle.

I went out, to my family, and I sat with them. It was better to not be alone, I realized. Coping with grief is a hard task, and whenever one does a hard task, they would likely want someone else to help them. We helped each other. One person was missing, though. It was crystal clear: Mom needed to come to America. If it wasn’t for the travel ban, they both would have been here already.

As soon as we heard that the travel ban was stopped for the time being, we were instantly filled with that feeling I had hated just a few days before: hope. We knew once my mom found out, she would get on the first plane and come here. She contacted us, we made arrangements, and she said that she’d get there as soon as possible.

It took a week for my mom to actually get there, because there were so many people trying to get to America. We weren’t in contact, so it came as a surprise when she called and said she was at JFK Airport, ready for us to come get her. It took almost two hours to get there from our apartment, but it felt like a blur. The airport was really crowded, and we searched all around for our mom. Ahmed saw her first.

“There!” He shouted. She was sitting on a bench, with a small suitcase, and looking down at the ground. She looked older than I remembered, but still beautiful. She looked up at us, with a mixture of happiness and sadness, and ran toward us, while Ahmed and I ran toward her, to hug her. We were crying, and she was crying.

“Look at you two! You’ve both grown up so much,” she said when we had calmed down a little. “Your father would have been proud.” Uncle Joram walked up to us, and though he wasn’t really crying, there were tears in his eyes.

“I… I’m sorry,” he said to my mom. “I should have done more, should have helped or-”
“There’s nothing else you could have done,” my mom interrupted, putting her hand on his arm. “What you did for my sons… I can never thank you enough.”
We went home, and talked all night. The good, the bad, everything. We talked about our favorite memories of Dad, and there was lots of crying, but it was good. Sadness isn’t bad, it’s necessary. It’s also necessary to move past the sadness to experience joy. A lot of the time, there is a mixture of both. I knew that I would always be a little sad inside, but I could make sure the sadness didn’t take control of me. The memory of dad was far from dead, and it was comforting to think of all the good that had happened when he was alive. I didn’t end up with the complete family I thought I’d have, but it wasn’t so bad after all.