Monday, December 28, 2009
There is a lot that can be said about returning, for a time, to a place from your past. Home is not a place that I left behind, as it is very much in the forefront of my life. Actually being home again has me reflecting on the life I lived while I was here. I realize that I was afraid–truly terrified, in all actuality. I lived so scared of what people were thinking, what they were saying and all that they weren't. I stayed within the boundaries that I thought were safe, making sure to not step outside of my obligations and responsibilities. I followed ever closely the road that I was certain would lead to my eventual success. I have come to fully realize that it was all perceived. All of it. The life I had lived was one that was restricted by the box that I put myself into. No one else created it. No one else put me within a life full of restriction and limitation, bound by the perceived judgment of others, and more fiercely, by judgments of my own self. What is this life! Is it not one intended by our Savior to be fully enjoyed? What have I been doing? Twenty-one years I have been alive, but do not feel as though I have truly lived. Wait. There was a time when I felt alive. The summer I spent in Italy, I feel as though I came to life. Freedom from time, uninhibited passion, vivacity for life and for love. Italy was everything that I was not. It fully embraced that which I was afraid of. It was bold, vivacious, vulnerable. I longed to feel and express these emotions, and did for the moment in time that I was there. I tried to bring this discovered freedom from myself with me home, but my strong efforts soon waned and my zest for life began to fade. How easy it is to fall into the notion of success and contentment being defined by all that we accomplish. It is all perceived. All of it. I was so consumed with this idea of being successful and appearing to others as a responsible individual, one who will amount to something because I 'have it all together', that my striving for this image of success only has resulted in a restrictive mentality, and the chosen inability to enjoy life. My exploration into the definition of reality this past quarter sparked these self-realizations, and it is also what prompted me to have the courage to be vulnerable, sharing my heart, my inquiries, my insights and thoughts. I was sent strength in the form of a verse from Galatians. "If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load." We are not supposed to compare ourselves to one another, we are our own selves, made by God, loved by Him–each with our own individual purpose and story within this world. Our success can not be measured based upon the lives of others–we are different, and it would be an inaccurate test to compare ourselves against another. We are who God has made us. Love your neighbor as yourself– we need to accept who we are to begin to understand how to truly love.