Fr. Robert Lawton’s Statement
‘‘So, what is the answer to this deep insecurity we all feel? The answer, I think, is to embrace the adventure of becoming deeply, and fully, ourselves. This is what God is really calling us to. It seems like the riskiest of all journeys, this journey to be one self. But it’s ultimately the journey that leads us to happiness, that leads us into God’s dreams for us.’’
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When I first read Fr. Lawton’s statement, a thought came to my mind: We are born individually, brought up being encouraged to think independently, face life individually, and ultimately become the drivers of our destiny. As the Greek poet, Euripides, remarks “There is just one life for each of us: our own” (Veloso). However, it is one thing that we choose to disregard in life due to the risks we think we will encounter if we decide to become ourselves. True there are risks in taking activities in college that bring out what we are; nevertheless, the risks are worth taking if we are to have fulfillment in life.
‘‘Journey to be oneself’’ as the riskiest of all journeys
What Fr. Lawton meant in his statement is that the process of becoming ourselves is risky, first because we have to open up to others to be ourselves. Sharing our beliefs, aspirations, dreams, and goals exposes us to scrutiny from others who may choose to ridicule or downplay our abilities. This increases the possibility of lowering our self-esteem or simply shying away from becoming ourselves.
Secondly, becoming ourselves is a journey with an unknown end. Nobody understands him/herself until he/she embarks on this journey and form an opinion of whom s/he is. If one decides to undertake a journey to a place, s/he has never known or been; the risk of getting lost along the way is high. Nevertheless, we need to continue after getting lost instead of despairing. This I can relate with, as my journey to college has been neither straightforward nor easy.
Then the issue of being alone in this “journey” sprouts. We determine when and where to start our journey and that means we are going to be alone many times because every person has a unique journey to travel. Nobody likes to be alone, humans are social beings; however, in finding ourselves we must be prepared to let go of the crowd mentality and think for ourselves. The risks in this journey are increased by the fact that there are many obstacles along the way. People influence the way others live because we all loathe ostracism and rejection. However, we need to know that being ourselves is better than trying to be like other people.
If we embark on becoming ourselves, we risk losing some friendships we have, but some risks are worth taking. Another meaning that the statement from the former LMU’s president seems to bring out is from the scriptures. In the bible, for instance, there is a lot of emphasis on Christians having a personal relationship with God as opposed to a communal one. It is far much important to believe rather than just obey, as through belief one can live a full Christian life.
There are risks that I will encounter as I start the new chapter of my life, like staying in a very different environment from the one I am used to. Nonetheless, it is my firm conviction that this will transform me into a better person. The experience that I have had in the past shows me that change is necessary for the growth of a person. Moreover, our true self comes out through the way we deal with challenges. The college has many challenges one is engaging in activities never attempted before. This may be a great hurdle especially if others are miles ahead of you, but I always believe that everyone runs his/her race.
With interest, which I believe is the greatest trait one can possess, almost all goals are realizable. There is also another risk of losing my old ideas on life to gain new perceptions. This is especially true with my faith. I have always maintained an open mind on matters about religion and recently I have been feeling that God has a plan for my life. Reflecting on Fr. Lawton’s words, clearly, this journey to oneself also leads to happiness and God’s dream for us, which is our desire.
On the other hand, college presents a great opportunity to confirm my convictions on what I am good at and where my interest lies. This in a way is part of my journey to be the person I am destined to be. However, there is the risk that through trying these activities I may not be as good, which may lead to a loss of confidence. For instance, if I feel that art is the best way I can express myself and I decide to enroll in some classes; if I fail and everybody thinks I am not cut out for it, I may lack the adventurous spirit to try in other fields which I did not feel confident about initially. In a recap, the journey to oneself is simply the way we lead our lives. If we take risks that lie in our path to greater things, then we are bound to find happiness and fulfillment.
These risks involve opening ourselves up to others and allowing criticism of our actions leading to a better us. College presents such risks and facing them head-on, definitely cures the fear and the deep insecurity that we feel inside us.
Veloso, Bryan. “Euripides.” Imanorginal, 2010. Web.