I have never felt empty. Correction, my soul has never felt empty, but my mind has. I have always felt, especially during the darkest times of my life, that there is more. Something is fighting, banging against a hard relentless brick wall, wanting to burst out and show me something.
There is something missing, I feel it every day. It may be a person I’ve yet to encounter, or an experience I’ve yet to face. Whatever it is, at least I’m aware of its presence. I know there is more out there for me. I’m not saying my life is miserable and unsatisfactory now. It’s nice, safe and planned. But my heart is pulling towards something else.
Recently a new seminarian came to my church. He is staying for the summer to work with the youth group in action towards his studies to become a deacon. He is also from Lebanon. Soon after he met me he told me something. Something many close to me have told me to avoid.
He sensed my potential, that I will accomplish great things in my life. He asked me if I’d ever leave to pursue a fate a bit far from home. This question has been asked of me many times in my life. Until then I have always answered, no. I wouldn’t leave my mother, my best friend, my hero, my inspiration and consolidation, alone. She doesn’t want me to leave her. She fears that I won’t return, that we’d grow apart, that I’d forget her.
I will never forget all that my mother has done for me. She has suffered so much, lost many family members, and she just wants the reassurance that I will always be there for her. And of course I will. That’s why I say that I don’t plan to leave home. To instead start my own family close the family I already have. I will stay for my mother. But the seminarian thought otherwise.
I hadn’t told him any of this. Heck, he had just met me and only knew my name and that my family was also from Lebanon. He said not to worry about my family. That if life takes me somewhere else, it doesn’t mean that I’ll never return. That I need to live my own life even if that may entail leaving the nest, in order to find myself, who I really am.
I basically stood there, my jaw dropped open. How did he know exactly what to say? At first, I was a bit offended. Who is he to judge what is best for me, when we’ve only just met!? How could he say that about my family? How did he know that I’ve had to face decisions of leaving home? After internally calming down, I took his words to heart. If my life takes me somewhere away from home, I’ll give that opportunity a chance.
I think everyone needs to jump outside the safe zone to learn something crucial about themselves and their fate. We won’t know unless we try. We shouldn’t be afraid of the future, we should enjoy it and be grateful for the ground we firmly stand on.
I think the seminarian’s advice was an indirect way of God telling me that it’s OK. To trust Him and whatever He has planned for me. To follow my heart but take my gut feelings into consideration.
What do you think? Have you ever been faced with the decision to leave home?