And again, another ‘last night’ and an another (upcoming) ‘first day’. And although I couldn’t wait until I left for school, I’m met with a somber feeling in my heart.
I’m reminded of a moment in Church, where the gospel reading was about a man whom Jesus was calling to follow Him. The man, although entirely ready to do so, responded to Jesus, ‘Lord, let me first bury my father’ and Jesus responded, essentially, ‘let the dead bury the dead, now come and proclaim the kingdom of God.’
God asks the rich young man to sell everything he has and follow Him in order to reach eternal life. He asks the twelve apostles that they must drop everything, pick up their cross and follow Him.
When I reflect on this, at first I wonder on how Jesus can ask of this. Leave my dead father? Sell everything I have? Drop everything I have? But what about me Lord?
But I’m met with a realization. God demands this of us. He demands we leave it all behind. Now, God definitely doesn’t cause or is the source of evil or pain. But the things that He asks of us can definitely be painful for us humans. He knows this and freely gives us the decision to do so or not. But what He knows, and what we do not know is that it is all worth it. God is worth it. The kingdom is worth it, and so much more.
So, once again I’m heart-broken that I’m leaving home again. I’m heart-broken that I’m leaving family behind, immediate and my own ‘bonded’ family. And I want to stay, because family is comfortable. It’s loving, it’s accepting, it’s fulfilling.
But the exceptionally hard truth I know is that this world has nothing for me. That the promise of the Kingdom is much more than what is here.
This sadness and pain I feel with leaving everyone in California again is definitely more difficult than it was the first time. But I have hope in the future The Lord has set out for me. For my life to be glorified and holy.
This sadness is my cross. It usually is for me, and probably for you, the reader, too. However, remember brothers and sisters, we are destined for Greatness. The first step for me is picking up my cross and to follow.
Usually I trip super hard when I feel like a close friend/best friend and I are starting to grow apart. Honestly, it is one of the most painful experiences to go through, and it’s one of those silent, sneak-up-on-you feelings of pain, rather than the immediate, ‘we just broke up’ pain. Instead of it all hurting at once, it just slowly eats at you continuously, and before you realize it’s too late to fix it (because you know, you always tell yourself it’ll work itself out), it’s past the point of almost no return.
Although the pain still exists, it was in these moments where I would the friend, or worst, myself. And it just spirals out of control. Feelings get hurt, things, which are usually over-reactions, get said, blame gets thrown, and overall it becomes a total mess. And usually, the whole thing just becomes way too hard for me accept.
But this time I feel more calm and collected about it all. Obviously, Jesus has a plan for each and every one of us. Who am I to interfere with the plan that He has for a specific person just because I’m not a part of it? Who am I to say that we should spend more time when I don’t entirely know what other lives are being blessed by the mere presence of the friend? Who am I to hold a gift of an amazing confidant, listener, and all of the other amazing qualities to a good friend to myself?
God has His own time. He can’t be restricted by our own desires, our ‘own’ relationships, by our own plans, by our own time. It’s all His.
So I have hope. In the future for myself and for the friends that I know I’ll eventually have to relinquish to The Lord. The Bible says ‘iron sharpens iron’, and I know that I have to let His tools, His instruments, His creation run it’s course.
I don’t have much to say about turning 24. And quite honestly, there isn’t much I have to share regarding another year of wisdom or anything learned over the past year.
However, there is a few things I have learned. If people want to spend time with you, they will take the time out to spend the time with you. Or at least try and spend the time with you. Yes, there have been people that I wanted to spend time with, but got no interest back in response, and that’s that. It’s so much more beautiful when people actually want to spend time, instead of some forced, ‘I guess we should catch up now’ type deal.
I’ve decided I’m going to do my best to make this next year my year. Not in a do things for me and only me way, but I’m going to try and be the best me I can this year.
This world will always leave a void in my heart. I just hope that the void is big enough to collect all of the endless treasures from God.
The news of LeBron James going back to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers has truly struck me with such great awe the past two days. The story of an out of this world basketball phenom who left his hometown and the team that drafted him to ‘chase championships’ was once a story of betrayal, anger, and disgust. How can a person who once carried a whole major city; their marketing, economy, trust, hope, etc. turn away from his home, one that he often proclaims as a major part and influence in his life? How can a man who promises to bring a championship to his home leave to chase that same beloved, and almost mythical championship at another city? ‘How can the man we hoped in so much betray us?’, fans cried.
And here he is, four years since that betrayal, deciding to come back home. Deciding it isn’t about winning multiple championships for his own glory, but winning one for his home, winning one for the place that formed him as a person and the player he is today. He writes…
I feel my calling here goes above basketball. I have a responsibility to lead, in more ways than one, and I take that very seriously. My presence can make a difference in Miami, but I think it can mean more where I’m from. I want kids in Northeast Ohio, like the hundreds of Akron third-graders I sponsor through my foundation, to realize that there’s no better place to grow up. Maybe some of them will come home after college and start a family or open a business. That would make me smile. Our community, which has struggled so much, needs all the talent it can get.
In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have.
I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home.
LeBron James’ return to Cleveland is not just about his own accolades anymore. It’s about giving back to his home. It’s not even about basketball anymore he writes. It’s about making a difference.
It truly is an inspiring story, to watch a man mature before our ‘very eyes’ (and by that I mean through the television screen and the endless articles about LeBron). That he realizes it isn’t about himself. That there is some other ‘calling.’
As I reflect on this, again, I become awestruck. What an amazing story. And I began to realize, this story can be very similar to many other Catholics’ stories.
When did I leave I’m not exactly too sure. Where did I go, again I can’t say one-hundred percent. However, I can say this. It wasn’t about my home. It wasn’t about the God who created and formed me. It was about me. It was about me chasing the personal accolades, in this case, the personal pleasures, satisfactions, rewards…it was about me appeasing myself. Lately it has been slowly revealed to me in various ways that those things that appease me can’t compare to the promise, the glory that my Home, my God, has for me.
It has led me to desire something far greater than my ‘championships’ I chased before. I now have a desire for something different. Just like LeBron, my calling, and all of our callings, are more than just about ‘basketball’, it’s more than just about ourselves and our glory. It’s about the greatest Glory. The one that seems almost unearnable, unachievable, unreachable, and impossible without God’s mercy and grace that He gives us each moment we decide to receive it.
So this is my desire, to be holy. To be the man that my true Home, made me. To be the man that God has designed me to be. To be the person that God created me to be. My desire is to proclaim the name of my Home, and to represent and portray my Home in each and every action, thought, and word spoken. My desire is to achieve and win the only ‘championship’ that is truly important in this life. To be one with God, to be united with Him in heaven.
LeBron writes this almost perfectly…
I’m not promising a championship. I know how hard that is to deliver. We’re not ready right now. No way. Of course, I want to win next year, but I’m realistic. It will be a long process, much longer than it was in 2010.
For us Catholics, and more importantly for myself, what LeBron writes is true (and mostly relevant). We cannot achieve the ‘championship’ we desire ourselves, only God can promise that. And for most of us, the way to achieve this won’t start immediately, it will take work, prayer, love, humility, and faith.
And just as it is for LeBron, it will be a long process. One that may never end until our last breath.
"My patience will get tested. I know that." writes LeBron. However, I know with the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, with faith in God’s great divine providence, and knowing that there is a plan laid out for us, we will all definitely achieve it.
So, with faith, hope, and great confidence, I shout to my Lord, my One and Only Home in this life, ‘I’m returning back to You. I’m coming Home.’