As you may or may not remember, I am currently living away from my family home, and even though I lived away from home on-and-off while I was going to school in Kentucky, my family still finds it hard to believe that this could be the right path for me. And they have no qualms about expressing this view. The minute something gets a even a little complicated in my life, my parents get up in arms, and start questioning whether it’s “God’s will” that I should be living out of their vice-like grip– er, I mean comforting embrace. When was anxious and depressed about college life, my father would say, “If you’re not happy, that means you shouldn’t be there”. When I felt frustrated about all my plans to get back to Kentucky falling apart after graduation, my mother said “that’s because God wants you stay here”; never mind the fact that I couldn’t find a job in Texas either. When I was living in Louisville, sleeping on my best friend’s couch, and riding two buses in the rain and snow to get to my job at Panera, they told me to just pack up and come home. Now, as I am trying to sort through the messy aftermath of my first car wreck, my mother flat out tells me, “maybe that’s God’s way of saying you should leave and come back home. Let me give you some background on my family: we’re this big hispanic clan whose two main pillars are Faith and Family.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I fully believe in both of those values, but I think my parents and I simply don’t see eye to eye on how these values should shape one’s life. To me, family isn’t just the people who are related to you; it’s the people who accept you and love you just as you are, not because they are obligated to, but because they see you and understand you. They choose to be part of your life, and you choose to be a part of theirs; that’s a bond that sealed by genuine affection, not just blood. I’ve been blessed enough to have encountered these kinds of people in all my travels. From my best friend of 13 years, to my college buddies, to my co-workers, to my Godparents, and various mentors and mentees, I am honoured to have such a rich and interesting cast of characters in the colourful storybook that is my life.
Now, on the topic of faith; my parents seem to believe that if you have faith, your life will and should be easy and uncomplicated; while, I’ve always been under the impression, that if you have faith, you face obstacles and trials, but you will also have a very present Help. I didn’t choose to follow Christ because He promised me an easy life (and if you read the Bible he clearly doesn’t), but rather, I chose to follow Christ because he promised me an adventurous one. I grew up in children’s church hearing stories about David facing Goliath, Deborah guiding the Children of Israel with strength and wisdom, Moses leading the Israelites out Egypt and through the desert, Esther going before her husband, the king of Persia, to protect her people, and even Mary, the mother of God, saying “yes” the most outrageous request God has ever made of any human being. These people, these heroes of faith, all faced terrific trials, and you know what? They didn’t give up, they didn’t back down, they didn’t decline the divine call to adventure; they said “yes” when God asked. I don’t know about you, but that’s kind of life I want to live. That’s a life worth living.
Now, I don’t say all this to belittle my parents’ or family’s way of life; I know in their way, they, too, are living out a divine calling on their lives, and I respect where they’re coming from when they they just want me to be happy and safe. But if there was just one thing I wish I could get them to understand about me, it’s this: I would rather live a life full of adventure than free of hardship.