When I first helped my Father on one of our cars, I was not allowed to do anything. I wasn’t allowed to tighten a screw, I wasn’t allowed to hold a wrench, I wasn’t allowed to pour the oil into the funnel, I wasn’t allowed to do anything, nothing but to sit there and watch him, maybe, just maybe, I can hand him a tool he wanted, but that was when I was able to correctly identify which tool he wanted.
When I finally got my license, I wasn’t allowed to drive for anyone. Regardless that I passed my test, I wasn’t allowed to drive for the family, even to the store nearby, I wasn’t allowed to drive for my brothers to pick up something quick, I wasn’t even allowed to drive myself unless it was absolutely necessary for me to, which it wasn’t until I finally got my own car. I wasn’t allowed to do anything but sit there and watch, maybe, just maybe, I can give the driver some help by telling them whether or not it was safe to turn, but that was only when I can see the road correctly, and only when asked.
This was years ago. And as time passed, slowly I was involved more and more into being trusted upon in doing things.
My Father first let me give him the tools he wanted, then he let me go underneath the car with him to see what he was doing, then he started letting me tighten the nuts and bolts and screws that needed it, then he gave me small jobs to do on my own, then in the end, when a job needed to be done, my hands were right there in the car working along side my Father’s.
Initially, I took the Bus to get to college, but then my family let me take the van to get groceries with supervision, then they let me go without it, then they would let me drive for small recreational things, like pizza, while they simply went along for the ride. When I finally got my car, I was allowed to drive myself to school, then I was trusted to drive myself and others to school, and then in the end, I’m considered the “Patient and Good Driver.”
I was, at first, the one who wasn’t allowed simply because I didn’t know any better, I had no experience, I could have hurt myself if I was trusted with something while not seeing what its purpose is initially. But, my patience and curiosity, gained me the trust that allowed me to not only work alongside my Father and drive my family, but to an effect, display that I am someone to be trusted.
Now, rather than worry about trusting me with things, I am now currently the first person to go to in order to get something done. I’ve become someone that everyone can rely on, a dream of mine that also has ties to my wanting to be a doctor. But, I always feel honored and glad when someone trusts me, it not only brings said person and myself closer, but it tells me subliminally that I’m still a good man, something that I’m constantly striving to be.
It’s strange really, It’s not being given a thing that tells me that I am trusted, it’s being given a responsibility, a chore even, that tells me that I am trusted, that tells me that I’ve shown maturity and patience, that I’m worthy of being given a higher responsibility. This is solidified by two separate sources, one, a quote: “In order to become a great leader, you must be come a great follower.” I can’t remember who said that, although I’m certain that I have the author in my Quote Book. The second source, the Bible: Matthew 23:11 “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.” Now, this was spoken by Christ, himself, and I know for a fact that I am not the greatest in this household!
But the idea is there: in order to grow strong in this life, you need to start at the bottom. Heh, something I started saying over at NerdFitness.com “Everyone starts at Level 1.” And in my case, I’ve faced Death in my youth several times, perhaps even more than most people, and all that I got when I remember these near-death experiences, refined by my faith and Catholicism, is a wonderful desire to earn my life here.
I tell everyone, I have to do good, be good, keep trying, try harder, can’t stay still, keep moving forward, keep looking up, keep reaching, pushing, fighting, laughing, smiling. And usually in these moments, that’s enough for some people, but no one asks me “why?” and why I keep doing all these things, why I’m suffering like this with a smile on my face, or why I keep going forward despite the odds, and that’s because I haven’t earned my place yet. If I were to die, right now, my last thoughts would be, “not yet” because, I haven’t done enough to repay my debt to God, to earn this life that was spared from Death’s grip on numerous occasions. This is why, I’ve chosen to live an honorable life, I don’t disrespect my parents, I don’t drink or smoke or do drugs or even sleep around with promiscuous women. I’ve chosen to live a life without regrets and a life with as little selfish desire as possible… Because, let’s be honest, being a doctor is something I want, I don’t know what God has in mind for me… But this is why my mindset is vastly different from other people my age, it’s strange to see them find some ironic sense of accomplishment in doing self-destructive things, while wondering why I don’t follow suit.
My belief is that, I’m not being a good man because I want to, but ultimately for God. This one small belief has an unbelievable large range in various places in my life, from hanging out with friends, to when I’m by myself, and believe me, there are moments when I want to do something, but then I’m reminded of this, and the next moment finds me forcing myself to step away from something I would really want to do, but cannot because said action or thing would go against this belief. And I can’t go against the ideal, because that would be thinking only in selfish terms and I cannot think selfishly because I was given a very important responsibility: A Life.
Ultimately, my final honor and responsibility, is the very life that I live. I’m trusted with this vessel of vast potential, and it’s up to me to make sure that at the end, it’s as good a vessel as possible. Not because I want it to be, but because God wants me to; without even asking me in some grand vision, I’ve found that I’m meant to not live on what I want, but on what I believe is morally right and just. The best way to repay God for all the times he’s saved this life is to return it to him with as much good works and faith as I can fill it with. And when I do return it, I’ll return it with a smile on my face, because of all of the things I will have seen, the smiles on the faces of the people I will have interacted with, the strength people will say I have given them, and all of the things people will say I have left them, when I imagine that God will have made me a witness to all these things, I can’t help but smile. I smile because I will have been useful, because I will be able to rest in peace, and because I know I will have finally earned my place in Heaven, simply because I was trusted with this one small thing.
I want to face the end of this Journey with the ability to say, “I have no regrets…”