The Move & the Why’s
“For what it’s worth, it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit; stop whenever you want. You can change, or stay the same – there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.” -Benjamin Button
I’ve been meaning to write about moving to San Francisco for awhile now. But, like always, my mind works much faster than my vocabulary.
It’s no secret that I struggled going to Jessup and living in Rocklin. Rocklin is a far cry from San Bernardino, and it was a divide that I felt more than most. People talked about their parents making six figures like it was no big deal. Friends of mine got more money for clothes than my parents had spent on me for Christmas-for the last two years. Needless to say, people had money, and I definitely did not, and I did not really understand those who did. This ties into my struggles at Jessup. Before I got there, I understood Jessup as a small christian college. And I understood college as a place to learn, grow, and flourish into whatever I chose to be.
Donald Miller says, “When you build a city near no mountains and no ocean, you get materialism and traditional religion. People have too much time and lack inspiration”
Maybe that’s how Rocklin was for me. I felt like Jessup was telling me all the hows of life. How to get money, how to be a good christian, how to not cause trouble. It’s not like those are bad things to learn. But I’m at a point in my life where I feel like I’m asking all these why questions. It’s not that the how questions are bad, its just that I don’t feel like I need that much help figuring out how to do things. I certainly don’t feel like I need to be paying $300 a unit to answer how questions. I can go to Barnes & Noble and find shelf after shelf of books telling me how to do things. I want to know why. And alot of those why questions are big and heavy, far to heavy for this conversation. But I feel like San Francisco is filled with people who are also asking why, and they don’t really worry about the how of life.
Rocklin worried about the how of life. How to get a big house, say the right things, go to the right church, all that. And honestly, at this point, I don’t care about how to get a big house, I don’t really care if I say all the right things. I want to make mistakes, and I want the freedom to be able to make mistakes. I don’t want to be judged for the risks I choose to take, I want the freedom to take those risks. Jessup didn’t seem offer that freedom.
Me and TJ got grilled by so people for our decision to move to San Francisco. People “worried” about our “spiritual health” and such. I don’t have enough fingers and to count the amount of people who disapproved of our decision. And as much as I want to write this as a big “F you” to all the people who thought we would crash and burn, as much as I want to show them our sick apartment in the middle of the city and say, “I told you we’d effing make it”, I’m going to try and refrain.
This isn’t about how I dislike Jessup or Rocklin- as my Mom loves to remind me “you wouldn’t be in San Francisco if it weren’t for you’re experience at Jessup.” It’s true, without Jessup I wouldn’t have gone to Africa or SF. In preparation to go to Africa, I was really struggling to raise the money. I sent out more than 75 support letters, some 20 of those I sent to WJU staff who knew me. Of those 20 or so staff members who got my letter…only one responded. And that killed me, It wasn’t about the money, it was about support. My tuition paid for these people’s groceries and their house payments, I went to their churches. And now I was trying to go, be, and find out some of the whys of life, and I felt like I had no support. Could we just get some support to follow dreams and ask questions bigger than how?
I could talk about generosity, or how I don’t understand God in relation to blessings, or a number of other things, but I’ll try to stay on point.
I don’t know who I want to be, I know I’m on that journey right now. San Francisco is a part of that journey, and I know it will be a valuable part. I want the freedom to make mistakes, I want to screw up in the name of taking risks and trying to do whats right. I don’t want to play it safe, I felt like Jessup was all about playing it safe, and I don’t feel like God is about playing it safe at all. Look at his Son, who is supposed to be our example, He sure as hell didn’t play it safe, and I don’t plan on it either.
I feel like whatever I decide to do in life needs to relate to San Bernardino, It is a part of me, and I am a part of it. I see all these people I know there, and it seems like they all search for the wrong things, they all search for some authentic feeling, and nobody’s finding it. I felt very inauthentic is Rocklin, a lack of inspiration as Don Miller would say. I felt like I was supposed to fit the mold, and as those who know me can attest, I don’t usually do that very well. whatever I do, I just want it to mean something to the people back home…to let them know that there’s gotta be something more to being a “christian” than going to the right church and saying the right things. Again, I could go on a tangent, but I’ll save all that for later.
My point is, I want the freedom to make mistakes in the name of striving for something better than figuring out the “hows” of life. I can’t look at a sunset, or notice the intricate designs on my own fingers without thinking, “why?” There’s gotta be something more to life than this, more than Rocklin, more than being a “good” christian. There’s gotta be something real, authentic, that doesn’t tell me how….but struggles through why. Something that doesn’t accept pat answers about life, but realizes that life can be a dark place, that sometimes life sucks, and that choices aren’t always easy.
I don’t have the answers, But San Francisco gives me the opportunity to ask those questions. And maybe, just maybe I can figure out some answers for me, and help find some answers for you.
“We are shaped by our experiences. Our perception of joy, fear, pain, and beauty are sharpened or dulled by the way we rub against time.” -Donald Miller