Last Monday, we cried our eyes out–I’m assuming I’m not the only one hahaha–as we reminisced stories of people who left such an impact on our lives. We discussed their strengths, their weaknesses, their experiences. We discussed the legacies these people imprinted on our hearts.
Then our teacher bounced the question back to us: What kind of stories might our children or our grandchildren tell about us, were they to do our Ancestor Exercise fifty years from now?
Once again, I was rendered speechless.
Our LTS teachers ask very good questions. Really.
I put this entry off for as long as I could because I found it so hard to answer. How on earth could I put my story on par with the heroism of my parents, of my classmates’ parents and other relatives? I grew up in a comfortable environment. Everything I wanted was in reach. I did not experience savoring a meal because there was no money left to buy the next. How, then, can I compare?
But I think my story starts there. I was raised in a comfortable environment, in a loving Christian family. I had parents who were very willing to shield us from the darkest, scariest monsters of reality. I lived more than half of my life on the other side of the continent. Buying gadgets, clothes, books… money wasn’t much of an issue.
What more could I ask for?
Therein lies the rub.
For some reason, I wasn’t contented. I measured my life against my classmates’ lives and I found myself lacking. I strove so hard to act like them, to be like them, but my efforts were never enough.
I was built differently, so I broke myself. I tried to rearrange the blocks to fit their mold, but I only ended up hurting myself. I took the pieces they offered me and jammed in my heart’s gaping hole, but they don’t seem to fit. They poked at all the wrong places. They forced me to rip myself even more. I lashed at the people who tried to help me: my parents, my friends, my teachers. After so many years, I concluded that I was too broken. Damaged goods. A big failure.
NOTE: This is one morbid story. Hahaha. But I promise that I did not physically hurt myself during those years. My sense of self-preservation still prevailed. Hahahaha.
When I entered college, I was separated from everything familiar. Living in a different country, immersed in a different culture. It forced me to reassess myself, my principles: Why am I like this? What happened to the happy girl I used to be?
I started to miss the people who tried to help me. I reconnected with them. Little by little, the wounds started to heal. During this time, I realized that I was filling my heart’s hole with all the wrong things. It was a God-shaped vacuum. Letting God in was the first step to my revival. I now can hear that satisfying “click” when the pieces fall into place. I’m now stronger than ever.
To my future children and grandchildren: I think it’s easier to hold on to yourself, to your principles when the world is falling apart than the opposite. I know what it’s like to have everything and yet feel nothing. It’s simply a matter of perspective.
God loves you. You are beautifully and wonderfully made. You are not mistakes. Don’t let society ever tell you otherwise. The world is full of voices screaming at you, but you can choose the ones you’ll listen to. Someone told me this last February/March, and those words changed my life. I’m passing them on to you.
I’m still young. I’m a few months shy of turning eighteen. But I’m already thinking of my legacy. I’m testing out my theories and working outs the kinks. I’m trying my best to live a life that’s worth emulating. I’m trying to write a story that you’d love to share over and over again.