As I was walking my older sister and her two young sons to her car last night. "Don't leave, come home and live with me. We'll go out to lunch all the time and get manicures and pedicures and do all sorts of fun things." That is what I've become accustomed to hearing from my 80 year old grandmother who just wants everyone she cares about within a five mile radius of her. I hear similar things from my mother on a pretty regular basis too and occasionally from my father, but they are trying to be good.
But last night, my older sister, Stacy, who never says anything that may even be taken as meant to discourage me from doing anything I want to do, hugged me for the longest time in the middle of the road with tears streaming down her face (also a rarity) and said, "You can come home, Stevie, you know that?" Just a simple question that wrapped up everything she was feeling but never said. And that was it. Well, that and, "I love you, be safe." Even writing this it makes me want to cry.
I haven't been sad to leave home since I left for college 5 years ago. And I'm not really sad for myself, but for them. It finally hit me why my family has been acting this way when they didn't behave like this when I went away to college. They actually expected me to come home for good. I think it is only within the last two weeks that they are starting to realize that I have no intentions of living at home again. And even though, I'm strong in that decision, because I don't think Jesus' will is for me to spend the rest of my life in South Florida, five minutes away from my whole family, married with 2 1/2 kids, it is heartbreaking for me to realize the reason behind their fears. They fear the truth that I really have been serious the last few years when I've been telling them that I'm not coming home. That...and for some strange reason they all think I'm going to get shot in Camden.
I have the greatest amount of respect and love for everyone in my family and how they have chosen to live their lives. They are all wonderful and loving people and the family is about a tight-knit as any I've ever met. We have a blast together, and often too. But my life is different. My dreams are different. I don't care if I ever have the perfect husband, 2-4 wonderful children, a big house, two cars, a dog, and a picket fence. I don't care if I ever make six figures. I don't care about prestige, fame, beauty, riches, or anything like that. I care about people and I love Jesus. And I want to be where I can best love Him and others. And whether or not all of those other things come to me matters not, actually, I'd prefer they don't. I'd much rather a hut in Thailand than a picket fence in Coral Springs. I'd much rather spend my life needing God than being comfortable and complacent. And I don't ever want to think or feel like I don't need God. But all of that doesn't make seeing the tears in my sister's eyes and hearing her soft voice any easier, or any less heartbreaking.
Pray for my family please, and pray for me.