Once in awhile, a small comment I receive keeps my thoughts occupied for a long time. I received one such comment today. Someone at work told me “you always look so elegant…don’t change. Some homeschoolers, after they graduate, think that they have to change and ‘get with the times’. Never change.” Although I may not always wear the same clothes, do my hair the same way, have the youthful appearance that I have now, I think there is a deeper point.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen said that (paraphrasing) “when you meet someone after many years and they say, ‘my, how you have changed!’ – there is something that remains the same. If there was not, they would not recognize you at all.” That something that remains the same, is the core of the personality that God has given each of us as humans. Father Kentenich often admonished us to “remain genuine”.
This is not to say that we can not grow and mature. We just have the task to always remain genuine to the person that God created us to be! It is so easy to get caught up in following the crowd…and then we lose God – and in losing God, we lose ourselves. The best way to find ourselves is to find God. If we ask and listen, He will show us the proper expression of our personality. Although it may not always be pleasant, we will have the “pendulum security” (another expression of Fr. Kentenich) of being held firm even as life swings us from one extreme to the other.
Lately I have often been wondering how the impressions of California will affect me. I am trying to not only prepare physically for leaving, but also prepare spiritually. I believe that I have a strong personality, and God has blessed me with many graces…but how do I prepare for the unknown, prepare for the temptations, sorrow, sacrifices and dicipline that will be necessary? I have only lived with my family, and for as long as I remember, I have lived in semi-rural areas. I have only had to live with other people for limited amounts of time (retreats, camps, pilgrimage, etc.). If I don’t want to encounter certain people and/or situations, it is simple – I minimize my contact with them! Although I see them sometimes, there is always plenty to do at home and with family. I have been blessed with the opportunity to avoid much of the “junk” that assails the average person.
Although I generally do not have to deal with popular culture on a daily basis, I often feel the many effects of societies sinful undercurrent. My family is not perfect by any account, and is not untouched by worldly ideas. My circumstances are not picture perfect, the people I associate with are not all saints. Very few people I know share my ideals; some ignore them, some scoff at them, some are indifferent. But somehow our Blessed Mother has chosen me for herself, has protected me, and has formed me past anything I can take credit for. In this I find confidence that everything will turn out fine…I will never change…I will remain genuine.