Oregon. I think everyone knows that’s where I’m headed. And I think most people knew my parents didn’t quite know how serious I am about it. Today I told my mom.
I had gone home this weekend and was kind of in the background with my family. I hadn’t really seen them in a month and everyone was too distracted with Brent’s new project to ask me about life. It was like a Sixteen Candles vibe except it wasn’t my birthday and my brother wasn’t getting married. But you get the picture.
So today I was packing up and attempting to go back to Waco before I cried. I don’t know why this weekend made me sad – usually I enjoy my family not prying into my life. Still, I guess no one likes to be invisible. However, my mom came in and noticed I was packing and heading for the door. She stopped me and said she hadn’t gotten to talk to me this weekend. I didn’t mean to come off so harsh, but I responded, “Well, you’ve been a little busy.” (Which was said in a piercing way… it was meant as a ‘well you picked which child you wanted to give your time to’) I love that my mom cares enough to ignore my rude comments and keep trying. She insisted we get ice cream and talk before I left. I agreed.
I think I was a little worried, though. I knew Oregon was going to come up – I mean, it’s a life-changing decision that’s occupied my thoughts every day. It was going to surface.
And there we were, sitting at a bar with swivel stools, eating ice cream as we talked and looked out the window. I’m glad we were looking out the window or else the ice cream shop would’ve seen a lot of tears. (I kept them in and if I felt tears swelling up, I just ate ice cream until the roof of my mouth was frozen)
My mom kept the talk light – she didn’t know about the impending doom. And then she brought up this job she keeps trying to set up for me after graduation. In Dallas. She kept talking about how the CEO is wonderful and the company would be great. She was so excited. It felt wrong not to talk about my thoughts on my future. I tried to start gradual and just mentioned the Northwest. That idea failed when my mom went off on how liberal they all are.
I’ve always known my mom’s view, but I didn’t expect the conversation to go the way it did. I guess since Oregon is like my future home, I’ve become a bit protective of it. My mom, not knowing the protectiveness in my head, kept talking about all the heathen liberals up there. I would say something here or there, but I don’t think my mom really listened to me until I said, “Just because North Dallas has a church on every corner, doesn’t mean that even half the ‘christians’ in them are actually living a life for Jesus.’ I could defend Oregon all day long, but it was always theoretical to her because I never lived there and didn’t know from first-hand experience. Talking about where we live, my mom noticed I wasn’t just throwing around ideas. I had her attention.
Then I just went for it:
“Mom, I don’t think I’m supposed to stay in Texas.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Because my heart hasn’t been here for awhile.”
“Well… that makes me sad to hear that.”
Then, my mom proceeds to tell me all about her regrets in life – how she felt the same about leaving New Mexico for Texas, how she always wishes she stayed near her family, how other people in our extended family have moved away and are now outsiders/weird, how family is key to it all, how she wants to be a part of my life and my future kids’ lives…
Once she was done and the roof of my mouth pretty frozen, I talked about the disciples. When Jesus called them to follow Him, their families weren’t considered. They dropped everything and followed Him. I wasn’t implying that God’s going to use me to change everyone’s lives in Oregon – but for some reason, I need to go there. And I would be disobedient if I listened to all my mom’s regrets and stayed in Texas for family instead of going to Oregon for God.
My mom eventually said that wherever I end up, they will support me – but I still heard the unspoken “but I want you here.”
I know I made my mom sad today. It makes me sad. But when I finally got in my car to come back to Waco, I cried – not because my mom was sad, but because all I wanted to say to her was if she would pray that I would be strong enough to not only get to Oregon, but flourish there. But I couldn’t. I didn’t want to ask my mom to pray for something she didn’t want, for something that would break her heart. But I just know that when she prays for me, it won’t be that I get to Oregon. She’ll pray that I meet some guy who will keep me in Texas. She’ll pray that this thought of Oregon will leave my mind before I graduate. She’ll pray that I listen to her regrets. And that’s hard.
But if this was easy, then I wouldn’t appreciate making it to the other side. This is my journey to Oregon. There are going to be a lot more goodbyes to come. More challenges. More lonely nights and tearful car rides.
But guys, this isn’t a defeat. My journey has started. One foot in front of the other. Oregon is waiting for me. And all this is worth it. This journey is beautiful. It’s beautiful because it’s finally started.